Brian Sutherland started his own e-commerce company at age 16 and today is responsible for leading commercial sales and marketing for Yardi across the United States. Sutherland is passionate about the power of technology to enhance engagement and bring asset owners closer to their customers.
How does Yardi support REITs?
We have more than 50% of publicly traded REITs on our investment and property management platform. We feel we’ve gained broad adoption by the industry due to its very public nature as well as its regulatory requirements, which tend to have a heightened focus on data security, and Service Organization Control (SOC) 1 and SOC 2 compliance. We have over 150 personnel in our cloud and security department focused in these areas.
REITs also tend to be vertically integrated and perform property management in-house. Having their back office and front office teams accessing the same information provides fidelity of data and transparency across real estate operations.
Our budgeting and forecasting tools seem to be a standard with our REIT clients and can help provide more clarity regarding the revenue and expenses housed in our system. They can also improve the quarterly reporting requirements by the SEC, as well as improve the accuracy of guidance.
How are the needs of REITs unique relative to other real estate owners, such as investment managers or owner managers?
In several ways. One is regulatory differences. Our Sarbanes Oxley (SOX) 1 and SOX 2 reports are very important to our REIT clients. REITs have a large focus right now on ESG, so we’ve really been working to align their ESG initiatives, whether it’s coming from public policy or their tenants.
SEC and quarterly reporting is also a huge focus for REITs, so there’s been a lot of attention on where they are going from a projection perspective. We focus a lot on budgeting and forecasting with REITs and making sure everything is in line and working properly.
Is there a key trend that you see across the REIT industry?
Diversification. Traditionally, most REITs specialized in a single category of commercial real estate. Today, however, REITs that previously focused on office are expanding into coworking. Those that primarily invested in multifamily are diversifying into industrial. Our solutions cross all asset classes, giving us a unique breadth of perspective into the various sectors of real estate. As our clients’ strategic direction changes, we can help them understand and navigate new markets.
Are there any misconceptions about Yardi within the REIT space?
The perception is that Yardi is a back-office application. On average, a publicly traded REIT uses four to five Yardi solutions that would take it far beyond property management and accounting and into more functional areas within the business, whether it’s our ESG solutions, construction development solutions, or leasing solutions. Since most REITs are vertically integrated, they can really make broad use of our solutions.