Meet the
new Tobias

Before – after, or from old to new. Introduced in the spring of 2019, Tobias 365 is the successor to the Tobias AX ERP system in the Netherlands. ERP systems remain the heart and soul of Aareon’s digital ecosystem Aareon Smart World, and they’re being refined all the time. But what’s so innovative and user-friendly about the new system, and what are the fundamental differences?

Aareon pays a lot of attention to ERP systems and they occupy a key position in both its corporate strategy and Aareon Smart World. Our prime aim and abiding aspiration is to ensure that the systems remain firmly on the cutting edge in terms of technology and functions. In the Netherlands, Aareon Nederland offers two ERP systems: REMS for the commercial real estate industry and Tobias AX, now Tobias 365, for the housing industry. In the third quarter of 2019, two pilot customers launched a project to migrate to Tobias 365 with an eye to going live with the new system in the second quarter of 2020. Migrating from the old system to the new one on its own takes around four to six months. Around 90 customers are set to migrate over the next five years. “Nobody’s being forced to migrate, but the customers are already queuing up,” says Alexander Zaal, Director of Operations at Aareon Nederland.

This is Tobias 365, successor to the Dutch ERP system Tobias AX.
The ERP system comes with a new, intuitive user interface.
Photo: Adobe Stock, Aareon Nederland

Joint development
Work on the upgrade in collaboration with Microsoft kicked off at the end of 2017 (the ERP system is based on Microsoft® Dynamics® 365). In addition to Microsoft’s enterprise applications that are designed specifically with Customer Relationship Management (CRM) and Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) in mind, Aareon is providing a social housing add-on that covers all the additional processes required by the housing industry. “When we began upgrading the new product generation, the focus was on migrating existing functions. But now that they all work in the new version, we’ve shifted the focus to other customer-specific requirements.” says Alexander Zaal.

Tobias 365's added value

The ERP system Tobias 365 has been further developed and represents the next product generation, which offers far more than just a new standard user interface. As a cloud model, it is even capable of providing access to the latest respective version for any device or browser, regardless of the location or time.

Did you know…

Alexander Zaal is Director Operations at Aareon Nederland. Having joined Aareon in 1995, he has performed various roles for the company over the years – from developer and consultant, to a position in the local board. In this interview, he explains the key attributes of the new system.

What’s so innovative about Tobias 365 compared with Tobias AX, especially in terms of technology?

Tobias 365 is a cloud-based ERP system, the data being stored in the Microsoft® Azure Cloud. This basically means that customers can use the latest version of Tobias 365 from any location, at any time, and on any device or browser. This has made the software development process at Aareon much more efficient, too. Customers benefit from being able to access the latest releases quickly and efficiently from the cloud.

Alexander Zaal, Director Operations NL
at Aareon Nederland
Photo: Aareon Nederland

What makes Tobias 365 so user-friendly?

All Microsoft’s new business applications such as Microsoft® Dynamics® 365 – and therefore also Tobias 365 – come with a standard user interface. As such, all these applications now follow the same UX (user experience) policies with regard to aspects of the user interface, e.g. fonts, icons, colours, etc. We can see that customers really like the new look-and-feel, and this is helping the product become accepted quickly. Moreover, all Microsoft business applications now run in one and the same environment. The moment you log in, it’s incredibly simple to switch from, say, Word to a function in the ERP system. Different products are able to work together seamlessly; Tobias 365 is essentially the platform that allows this to happen.

How are we simplifying migration to the new product generation?

Customers will easily find their way around Tobias 365 as the solution is extremely user-oriented; functionality is more or less the same as before. This means that the same processes are supported – but in a more elegant way. The fact that data is converted automatically also helps simplify the migration process.

Is Tobias 365 particularly forward-looking?

The system has a modern, intuitive user interface. Its technical basis is sound and future-proof; with Tobias 365, we in the Netherlands can now also switch to a cloud-based model.

Different countries,
different market conditions

Aareon offers nine different ERP systems tailored to specific country and industry-related requirements, since they often vary considerably.

Aareon sells ERP systems and digital solutions in Austria, Finland, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden,
Switzerland and the UK.

The Dutch, for example, are really quite advanced when it comes to digital transformation in the property industry. Especially the digital infrastructure there is very well-developed; they have an extensive 4G network which makes using smartphones and apps much easier. IT budgets are relatively high and in the past, a major digitalisation push was initiated by the Dutch government and the Association of Housing Companies in order to reduce costs. Compared with other European countries, social housing accounts for a relatively large proportion of the market in the Netherlands. “That’s why our prime target group for Tobias 365 is the social-housing sector,” explains Alexander Zaal.

   Learn more about the Aareon Smart World the
digital ecosystem for the property industry,
including the role that ERP systems play in it.