The platform

More than half of the world’s most valuable enterprises are platform companies. Why is that? What types of platform are there and why do they offer more opportunities than risks? We answer these questions and provide a glimpse of the new Aareon Smart Platform and the Aareon Smart Partner programme.

There are many successful platform companies – Apple, Google, Amazon, Facebook and Airbnb. The platform economy has become a force to be reckoned with. The best-known platforms operate predominantly in the B2C segment, and some have amassed so much power that they have triggered a debate about tighter regulation. But there are more and more platform companies in the B2B segment as well, and they are growing ever more important.

Digital platforms

Those platforms are diverse:

they include technical platforms, platforms as a business model – both open and closed – and multifunctional platforms.

All of them have one thing in common:

they use digital technology to link up one or more market participants to enable or facilitate interaction and exchange between them.

The purpose of most of these platforms:

to sell or procure products, or to create products and services together with third parties.

The goal:

whether in the logistics, fashion, tourism or property industries, the goal of these platforms is to enhance efficiency and add value for customers.

The crucial aspect:

their openness, which ultimately makes for a virtuous circle: the more providers who use the platform, the more attractive it becomes for users.

Aareon is a pioneer in offering platforms for the property industry. More than 15 years ago, the company introduced Mareon, a platform connecting property companies and tradespeople, and launched the Aareon tenant portal in the market over five years ago. Aareon made the next quantum leap in 2019, rolling out the Aareon Smart Platform in November. This open platform enables its partners to develop solutions and integrate them securely into Aareon Smart World. Over the last two years Aareon Smart Platform was developed by an international project team and has already been tested by pilot customers in France. Hervé Cliquet, who heads the international team Digital Platform & Innovation Lab at Aareon, explains the platform’s salient features.

Talking to Hervé Cliquet

Hervé Cliquet was involved in the development of the Aareon Smart Platform from the very beginning. In his capacity he supervised the whole project where an international team of web developers and project management experts closely collaborated with customers right from the start.

What exactly does the Aareon Smart Platform do?

The new Aareon Smart Platform offers a wide array of web-based services, which Aareon’s customers and partners as well as start-ups can use to design and develop their own IT solutions. These newly developed software solutions for apartment and property management can be directly integrated into the Aareon Smart World digital ecosystem and, consequently, in the customers’ own ERP system. They can include, for example, software solutions for customer relationship management, smart-building systems, software for supplier relationship management, mobile solutions, apps and specialised tools for lift management or emergency lighting.

Why does a platform offer more opportunities than risks?

An open system definitely offers more opportunities because it creates a win-win situation for everyone involved. Companies – including those in the property industry – explicitly desire flexibility when expanding their digital ecosystems. Sometimes, they want to be able to integrate new solutions quickly. That’s precisely what the Aareon Smart Platform makes possible. It enables us to add value for our customers and their partners; and we derive benefit too from using the service ourselves and being able to enhance the loyalty of our customers.

Hervé Cliquet, Manager Digital Platform & Innovation Lab at Aareon France
Photo: Aareon France

What were the decisive steps in the development process?

We began developing the new platform in 2016. Our objective was to design the new cloud-based technical platform for all of our next-generation digital solutions. One of the key factors was having as many of our colleagues as possible, from many different areas of the company, participate in the process. Their expertise and specialist know-how were essential – and were decisive in ultimately ensuring widespread understanding and acceptance of the new product.

What are the platform’s technical underpinnings?

In technical terms, our digital platform is based on a microservices architecture. Web services are used for every business process. This enables our customers to develop digital solutions that are closely tailored to their needs as well as to integrate the digital solutions of partners via these business web services. That puts them in a position to hone and refine, in an easy and secure manner, their own individual digital ecosystems to dock into Aareon Smart World.

To what extent were our customers involved in the development process?

Collaboration with our customers is crucial. They are the ones who ask us about our ability to work with different partners in many different areas, and they need end-to-end solutions. Beyond that, they actively asked us to offer them a secure, standardised way of expanding their IT ecosystems. In fact, we are intensifying the collaboration with our customers as early as the study phase of each development project so as to get the clearest possible picture of the sort of solutions they are interested in and the specific added value they want. But close collaboration with customers has always been a guiding principle of Aareon’s.

How many pilot customers were there and what does the rollout plan for the platform look like?

We have three pilot customers in France – Erilia, odhac and OPH 05. Erilia is by far the largest of these. The company has been using the platform since 2018 and its input has helped us to develop the basic version more user-oriented. We kicked off the market launch of the basic version in Germany, France and the Netherlands in the fourth quarter of 2019.

Pilot customer Erilia

Erilia has been an Aareon customer for almost 25 years and is one of three French pilot customers to initially use Aareon Smart Platform.

The company was the first one to develop and launch a tenant extranet (“extranet locataire”) via Aareon Smart Platform. This portal enables tenants to view and manage their personal data, make online payments, set payment reminders in order to avoid unpaid bills, request repair work and much more besides. As a result, the tenants are better integrated in the administrative side of things. The service is available around the clock and has been adapted to run on all mobile devices (smartphones, tablets).

Cyrille Vincent, Head of IT at Erilia, assesses the progress made thus far:

“The Aareon Smart Platform offers multiple advantages thanks to the streamlined access to the web services. These new services make it possible to respond to new needs and develop new applications to satisfy them. Business data can be accessed more easily, and interfaces have been eliminated, laying the groundwork for the Aareon Smart Platform to offer more flexibility and autonomy.”


is a major housing company in France's social housing sector.


residential units

with around 125,000 tenants are managed by Erilia in seven regions throughout France.




are employed by the company which is based in Marseilles.

Erilia uses a wide range of Aareon solutions – from the ERP system to different mobile and digital solutions.

  Learn more about the Aareon Smart Platform , including detailed information about how you can benefit from it.

Smart partners

Aareon's new collaboration model provides lots of opportunities to third-party suppliers.

Aareon launched not only its Smart Platform in November 2019, but also its Aareon Smart Partner collaboration model, which targets third-party suppliers. Smart Partners can cooperate with Aareon to develop web services as required. Specifically, that means they profit from better access to the market and to Aareon’s expertise. Ultimately, they work together with Aareon to provide their solutions to customers. In France, Alcéane – a technical maintenance company – and 13Habitat – which offers external call centre services – are already official Smart Partners. In Germany, PropTech Simplifa, which offers predictive lift maintenance, has achieved Smart Partner status.