Yardi Systems Overview

Yardi Systems Inc. may be the most recognizable software name in property management. Virtually every property manager has either used a Yardi system in their career or is at least aware of their large presence in the industry. What started as a small property management software company in 1984 has grown into a multinational corporation employing over 1,600 people working in 20 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and Australia.

Yardi’s flagship product is their Voyager line, which is a browser-based application designed for managing a variety of property types. Yardi’s Voyager software line is the web-based compliment to their long time Enterprise application, which is an on-premise system also designed for a wide range of properties. The Classic and Genesis products are two more on-premise systems that are designed for specific market segments.

Given Yardi’s extensive promotion of the Voyager line on their web site, the company could be directing prospects away from their on-premise applications and towards their web-based systems. Whether intentional or not, Yardi’s web site funnels visitors almost exclusively to its Voyager products. When viewing Yardi solutions by market segment, only Voyager modules and applications are listed. For example, when a visitor clicks on Yardi’s solutions for affordable housing, only the Voyager Affordable Housing product shows up, despite their on-premise Classic application being designed specifically for affordable housing. It appears that Yardi’s products are trending in the same direction as the property management software industry as a whole, with more customers opting for web-based solutions.

Throughout their evolution, Yardi has used an aggressive acquisition strategy to build up their product portfolio, from acquiring software vendors to partnering with real estate related service companies. When asked about Yardi’s acquisition strategy, Yardi CEO Anant Yardi recently told MultiFamily Executive magazine,

“I don’t know that we have a well-defined formula for acquisitions. From time to time, things come our way, and there is always an ongoing discussion about whether we should build functionality in-house or should we purchase it?”

Yardi continued to say, “We find that wherever we can make an acquisition in a new area of interest to us, it bootstraps the process.”

The result of these acquisitions and strategic partnerships is a product portfolio that may need some explaining. Today, the Yardi portfolio consists of four product families:

Yardi ProductProduct Description
VoyagerBrowser/web-based family of products that serves the residential, commercial, senior, military, public, affordable, public and condo/HOA housing industries, as well as the construction management industry.
GenesisOn-premise system that serves small property management companies that manage residential, commercial, industrial, retail, and condo/co-op properties.
EnterpriseOn-premise, Windows-based asset and property management software system designed for mid-size residential and commercial real estate management companies.
ClassicOn-premise system for managing affordable housing requirements such as HUD compliance, tax credit compliance and Section-8 housing compliance.

Yardi Products by Industry Segment and Size

The main differentiators between the Yardi products, besides their deployment models, are the type and size of market each product is designed to serve. Through product development and acquisitions, Yardi now has on-premise and web-enabled software options for nearly every segment and every size of company.

Yardi Classic, a product acquired from CLASSIC Real Estate Systems in 2006, is an on-premise system that serves small to mid-sized affordable housing managers. Yardi also offers a browser-based affordable housing system as part of its Voyager line, as well as an Affordable Housing suite optional module that further enhances the product. The Voyager Affordable Housing application is geared towards affordable housing managers with larger portfolios.

Yardi Genesis is the company’s quintessential on-premise property management system for smaller property management companies in the residential and commercial industries. In 2010, Yardi acquired the Cleveland-based software company DIY Real Estate Solutions. DIY’s software is the web-based compliment to Yardi’s on-premise Genesis product. DIY specializes in helping residential property managers who manage under 1,500 units, which is the same market for the Genesis product. Yardi’s now retired Professional application was designed for this market before Genesis replaced it.

Yardi Enterprise was the company’s flagship product for many years and was the system that gave Yardi a reputation for catering to larger companies. Enterprise was designed to serve mid-sized to larger property management companies who manage all types of commercial and residential properties. The Voyager line is Yardi’s web-enabled compliment to the Enterprise system, with nearly a dozen modules and suites to that cater to essentially every type of property manager with a larger portfolio.

Through the combination of the Voyager products, Genesis, Enterprise and Classic applications, Yardi has a web-enabled or on-premise system for virtually every segment and size of the market.

Yardi Products by Application Functionality

Yardi’s core products vary greatly in their functionality and design. The Classic and Genesis applications focus on specific niches of the real estate market, while the Voyager lines and the Enterprise application have a broader appeal in terms of functionality.

All systems feature some level of accounting and tenant and lease tracking functionality, which are the core modules of any property management system. Both the Enterprise system and the Voyager family of products earn many of their features from the use of modules or add-on suites. Below is a table detailing the range of functionality each product has within a number of key functional areas

VoyagerGenesisEnterpriseClassic
Property Accounting
Investment & Development Management
Tenant & Lease Tracking
Budgeting & Forecasting
Building Maintenance
Real Estate CRM
Integrated Workplace Management Systems

Yardi Products by Industry Coverage

Yardi theoretically has industry wide coverage with its Enterprise application, but realistically it is designed for larger property management companies. Much functionality found in the Enterprise application isn’t necessary for smaller companies. And Enterprise’s support of more specific industry segments, such as hotel/resort management, was largely derived from the application’s customizable fields and custom reporting, as opposed to being specifically designed with niche segments in mind.

However, once the Voyager line of products were introduced over the last decade, and with the additions of the Genesis and Classic products, Yardi now has virtually every segment of the rental industry covered by its products.

The Voyager family’s web-enabled design has allowed Yardi to develop segment specific modules and suites for its customers, as opposed to simply offering customizable fields and reporting like the Enterprise application did. The Voyager line has greatly broadened Yardi’s coverage of the industry. The table below shows the industry support of each Yardi product.

VoyagerGenesisEnterpriseClassic
Affordable housing
Apartment/Multi-Family
Community/HOA
Condominium
Co-op
Commercial
Hotel/Resort
Industrial
International
Manufactured housing
Military Housing
Mixed portfolio
Public housing
Real estate developer
Residential/Single-family
Retail
Self-storage
Senior housing
Student housing
Vacation rental
Short-term

Software Deployment Options

Because of Yardi’s long history in the market, they offer both traditional on-premise systems and modern web-based systems. Most companies that have recently entered the market offer web-based solutions, while mature vendors tend to offer on-premise systems, perhaps with a hosted or online version of their product.

Classic, Enterprise and Genesis are all on-premise applications, meaning the program and the data are installed and hosted locally on a user’s machine or server. This deployment model is losing favor in recent years to web-based models because the web-based models are typically cheaper up front, more customizable, update in real time, and can be accessed from any location with an Internet connection and a supported web browser.

Yardi’s Voyager line, however, is fully browser-based. This means that the application is accessed over the Internet through a supported web browser (Internet Explorer), with no installation or storage of data on local machines. The data can be hosted on-site on a company’s server or through Yardi’s data hosting service. Regardless of where the data is hosted, the system is accessible from any computer in the world with an Internet connection. The advantages of hosting data with Yardi is that they take care of backing up the data, upgrading the software, and scaling the product as a company grows.

While Yardi still offers on-premise solutions, don’t expect much development effort to be used on those systems. Instead of investing effort in upgrading or designing on-premise systems, Yardi’s efforts are probably better used enhancing their Voyager line. If Yardi decides to upgrade its on-premise options in the future, it may be through acquisitions of smaller, on-premise software vendors.