Managing Assets

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Ready for new markets? Trace & Treasury is the SaaS asset management solution that can also be used to manage cash and draft business plans – and has been extremely successful in the Netherlands for some time. Indeed, its success has been such that Trace & Treasury is now transcending borders and looking to conquer the UK and Sweden.

in the Netherlands use Trace & Treasury, and one third of them are already working with the SaaS version.

Life is often about opportunities – the opportunity to live as you choose being one such example. But that’s not always as easy as it sounds. Those who require support need look no further than housing corporations of the likes of Wonen Zuid. Based in the south of the Netherlands, Wonen Zuid has over a century of experience in helping people realise their dream of living within their own four walls: “Our objective is to provide high-quality, affordable housing. We achieve it by listening attentively to our customers and joining forces with partners to help realise their dreams,” explains Vincent Jansen, Director Finance & IT at Wonen Zuid.

Partnership is highly important
Wonen Zuid’s tenants are a mixed bunch: young people and families, but also pensioners whose living arrangements have to allow for support and long-term care. “Some tenants remain with us throughout their lives,” says Jansen. Around one thousand people find a new home with Wonen Zuid every year. The company sets particular store by promoting a pleasant neighbourhood atmosphere. Together with local government staff, tenant representatives and other partners, it is working to improve living conditions in the direct vicinity of its rental units. Wonen Zuid spends € 20 per annum just on maintaining its property portfolio, while a sum of around € 30 million a year is invested in new properties and renovations.

certified information security:
the SaaS solution is hosted at Aareon’s own service centre which boasts multiple certifications.

When it comes to financial management, Wonen Zuid relies on Aareon Nederland’s Trace & Treasury system to support operative processes for treasury planning and asset management – all in a single SaaS solution. Not only does the certified software enable the company to comply with its reporting obligations for internal and external stakeholders, but it also assesses whether or not strategic decisions are commercially or financially feasible.

A system that adds value
This was a particularly important consideration for Wonen Zuid last year. The Housing Act in the Netherlands was amended with effect from 2017, and the social housing and commercial activities of social housing companies now have to be kept strictly separate in terms of administration. “Thanks to its extensive scenario capabilities, the software provided us with optimum support in implementing this legislative amendment,” says Jansen. This is precisely where it adds most value, according to Ronald Martens, head of division at Aareon Nederland: “With our system, decision-makers can immediately see how their instructions will affect the financial figures. It also provides for scenario analyses that take all the available data into account and combine it with the balance sheet figures over a number of years, the profit and loss account and selected key performance indicators. We aim to make these complex processes as simple as possible.”

One of the factors that enables this goal to be attained is the close collaboration between Aareon and its customers. Wonen Zuid, for instance, particularly appreciates the joint pilot projects: “We set great store by maintaining good relationships,” says Jansen. “We regard participation in pilot projects as an extremely useful investment because it results in win-win situations for both parties.”

A solution shows its real worth only when it is being used. For this
reason, customers really like joint pilot projects.
Photo: Nils Hendrik Müller



for Ronald Martens,
head of division at Aareon Nederland

What would you emphasise if you had to explain the quality and uniqueness of Trace & Treasury in a tweet?
If I could only use a maximum of 140 characters to explain what our system is all about, I would tweet: “Trace & Treasury SaaS: integrated support of operative, tactical & strategic treasury and asset management processes for finance & control”.

Trace & Treasury has long been successful in the Netherlands, but a multilingual SaaS application has only recently been developed. Why was now deemed the right time?
We had been intending to tackle this project for some time, but legislative amendments and new customer requirements had created such a dynamic market here in the Netherlands that we opted to concentrate on the domestic market in the first instance. Two years ago, we found a way of updating the system by combining our previous software with the new software in a single SaaS solution. Large parts of the software are currently available in the new multilingual environment. We can also provide support to customers who still require parts of the old software. Our customers greatly appreciate this update approach.

On the subject of networking, Trace & Treasury is also set to be launched in the UK and Sweden. How do you prepare to tap new markets?
First of all, we contact our colleagues in the country in question, as they know the market best. Together we analyse whether our solution adds value for local customers – and if so, what its main benefits are. The next step is to meet a few of these customers, present the solution and exchange ideas with them. We invite interested customers to participate in a pilot project, as the benefit of a new system is best appreciated in cases where it is used on a daily basis. We first contacted our colleagues in the UK about Trace & Treasury in October 2016, and subsequently paid them a visit at the start of January. It took just two months for us to incorporate our solution into Aareon UK’s portfolio. That’s because our system is a SaaS solution that is easy to integrate in an ERP system.

There are several reasons why we have opted to launch Trace & Treasury in the UK first. The market is very similar to the Dutch market and there is clear potential for this type of solution. It also complements the solution portfolio of Aareon in the UK and offers added value to customers. We intend to conduct an initial market survey in Sweden in the course of this year to help pinpoint potential and customer requirements. We’re planning a visit to our Swedish colleagues in May. What’s more, initial analyses have shown that there may also be demand for Trace & Treasury in Germany and France, so we intend to present our software to colleagues in those countries in person later this year.