Brand View: Said Haider, regional director of Middle East sales for Yardi, spoke to us from his office in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) with an update on the region's rapidly growing real estate market.
Said, what are your principal responsibilities and how Yardi is performing in the Middle East?
I manage our sales and business development efforts in the region. When we started our operations back in 2012, we had handful of clients; now we work with more than 80 clients in the Middle East and North Africa regions, mainly in the Gulf Cooperation Council. Without a doubt, it’s one of our fastest growing markets. Most of our clients have varied real estate portfolios and almost 90% of retail space in the UAE is managed with Yardi software.
When did Yardi enter the market and what was the impact?
We launched Yardi Voyager there in 2012 and almost immediately saw high demand across multiple vertical markets. We were able to replace customised solutions with a Software as a Service platform that fulfills virtually all business operations requirements out of the box. This allowed companies to focus more on their business and worry less about the tools. As we continue to grow, we are introducing the Yardi Elevate Suite, the most comprehensive set of commercial asset management solutions available on the market.
What are some key trends in the region?
The commercial, retail and residential sectors are growing fast. The real estate investment trust and shared office space concepts are also gaining footholds.
What’s our approach to the Middle East and Saudi Arabia in particular?
Customer experience is the key to competing in this market and that’s how Yardi made its mark. We offer a single integrated solution that covers the full real estate lifecycle from the initial investment stages to construction, leasing, sales, property and asset management, along with facilities management, portals for marketing and online self-services, analytics and other operations.
Saudi Arabia is the largest real estate market in the Middle East. We have more than a dozen clients in Riyadh and Jeddah and are considering expanding our presence in the Kingdom with a new branch office that would localise sales, implementation and support services.
Are there special aspects of the Middle East market that Yardi addresses?
Yes - examples include enabling direct integration of Yardi Voyager with Ejari, a platform that registers tenancy agreements in Dubai, and with local banks and payment gateways such as Sadad in Saudi Arabia. We can also accommodate post-dated check, the most common payment method in the UAE, and the Hijri, or Muslim, calendar used in Saudi Arabia.
What’s your background and how did you end up at Yardi?
I started my career at Computer Network Systems as a presales engineer for Cisco solutions, then moved to sales and worked with different technology and hardware platforms. After that, in 2009, I moved to Global Technology Services, which at that time was a subsidiary of Emirates National Oil Company, where I managed sales for the Oracle e-business suite across multiple verticals including government and real estate. I joined Yardi in December 2012 and helped set up the Dubai office, so I’m pleased to have been here from the very beginning.
Has Yardi been recognised for its innovation in the region?
Yes, several times. In April we received an Arabian Business Award as Best Technology for Real Estate. Last year we were named as the property management software company of the year by the Arabian Business Real Estate Awards. Also in 2018, we received the Best New Technology in Retail Silver Award from the Middle East Council of Shopping Centers in recognition of outstanding achievement in retail property management technology.
It sounds like a very promising market.
It really is a region of opportunity. We have based our sales, marketing, implementation and support team in Dubai. We opened a local data center in UAE in 2016, further demonstrating our commitment to the region. So we are thinking big!