“The right technology with AI can revolutionise business processes”


HI HEUTE editor-in-chief sat down with Yardi Senior Director Richard Gerritsen at MIPIM last month in Cannes to discuss digitalisation, artificial intelligence and Yardi’s goals for 2023.

HI HEUTE: After the end of the pandemic, daily office life has returned to normal in many companies. How is it in your company? Is there still a lot of working from home?

Gerritsen: Yardi is an innovative, global company and we listen to the needs of our employees. Last year, we began going back into the office but in many areas throughout our operations, we have downsized offices and moved to flexible working. We are a people business and employees are free to go to the office or work from home – we tend to work from the office once every other week, or more often when necessary if we’re working on projects.

We encourage our colleagues to work where they feel the most productive – whether that’s from home or in the office.

HI HEUTE: From your point of view, how has the readiness for digitalisation changed among retail companies? Has Covid-19 been a driver?

Gerritsen: For a lot of companies, the pandemic pushed them to rethink their strategies and it hasn’t stopped. In the 2022 EPRA and Yardi Proptech Survey, we found that 46% of businesses do not consider proptech adoption as a high priority compared to other business initiatives. However, nearly 70% of participants recognise that the adoption of technology is now a business topic. Businesses are starting to realise that technology is required to run their business better.

However, despite people in the industry recognising the importance of tech in driving the future of business, nearly 46% are classifying this topic as a low priority – they’re succumbing to the idea that they are not ready to digitise, which is an underlying issue that we need to change. The real question is, what is my cost if I don’t invest?

Digitalisation is a strategic business decision that drives the future of an organisation. Investing in technology is fundamental, but businesses need to be prepared to undergo this process before they can get to the other side of innovation.

HI HEUTE: Artificial intelligence and ChatGPT are currently more popular than ever before. How do you use AI in your business?

Gerritsen: We utilise AI and machine learning within our solutions, such as the residential and commercial suites. These asset management solutions deep dive into operational data and go beyond presentation with predictive insights and prescriptive recommendations. These intuitive solutions help elevate portfolio performance by lowering costs, balancing risk and increasing revenue.

Every process in real estate, whether it’s residential, retail, commercial or even coworking, is digitalised in our platform. We have seen in the industry that clients and customers are gathering their data from different places and aren’t focusing on having a strong data foundation. A strong data foundation can be utilised for AI, predictive analysis and the future of their business.

Based on each factor, for example, if I want to increase rent or reduce rent, the KPIs and predictive analysis we receive from AI can help us make the right decisions. So, we believe having a strong data foundation in place and aggregating this data will help companies be more productive and make better decisions in their future operations.

HI HEUTE: What else is new to report from your company that has or could have an impact on the retail real estate industry?

Gerritsen: We work closely with our clients to ensure our solutions can support their requirements. As the market changes, the business requirements change, so our solutions need to be flexible and adapt to any changes in business processes and business operations.

The Yardi Retail Suite has already helped clients save over 30 hours of data gathering and strategic planning, reduced the leasing planning cycle by 40% and saved 50% of time from automatic reporting. The end-to-end solution helps to easily evaluate current and future occupancy with visual floor plans, helps attract prospects, improves customer experience and provides better analytical insights with a click of a button.

Our technology helps clients scale their businesses and save time through automation. The retail sector generates more data each month than most vertical real estate markets. Businesses need to move away from spreadsheets as you can’t gain valuable insights into your data or trends. It makes it difficult to find the right information and involves a lot of manual input.

Automation is key to success as you can optimise your shopping centre revenue. Proptech solutions, such as Yardi’s, which are specifically for retail operators, help remove manual processes and allow them to improve the customer experience and attract prospects.

HI HEUTE: What are your corporate goals until the end of the year?

Gerritsen: As we look to 2023, data and technology are still important factors in real estate. There is recognition that proptech is an important factor in business, as mentioned previously. However, companies need to understand the true ROI of technology.

We shouldn’t be relying on outdated software that requires a lot of manual input when proptech can save 50% of your time through automation alone. You cannot afford to not invest in technology, especially when planning for growth – there are a lot of overhead costs, but technology can help you save money and scale your business.

This year we will continue to demonstrate to the industry the true value of a single connected solution. Our commercial offering is strong with solutions such as Retail Manager and Deal Manager that are developed for niche market needs. We will continue to help real estate businesses thrive with the use of a connected solution and one source of truth. By investing in the right technology and understanding the true ROI, real estate owners and operators can transform the way their business operates.

Created by Thorsten Müller, March 16, 2023 “The right technology with AI can revolutionize business processes!”