Connectivity as a driver of innovation

Connectivity is not purely a technological issue. It allows companies to set the course for the digital future together. This is the success story of Connected City Duisburg, which began with Aareal Bank's BK01 solutions. 

Since Aareal Bank was founded 100 years ago, we have stood firmly by the side of our clients, to help make them successful. From the beginning, we have connected various stakeholders in order to pool expertise – because the housing and energy sectors will only be able to manage future challenges together. Aareal Bank sees itself as a digitalisation partner, developing processes in line with requirements and opening up new paths with the aid of innovative technology. Cross-sector digitalisation and connection of everyday processes not only allows urgently needed gains to be made in efficiency, but also frees up resources so that further innovative business processes can be developed. One example of this is the cooperation between a number of companies in Duisburg, which began with the aid of Aareal's BK01 product family.

Process efficiency ensures customer loyalty

What might sound like a far-off vision of the future to some people is already a reality in Duisburg. A range of companies, including both utilities and housing industry enterprises, are already thinking about processes beyond the boundaries of their own company and sector and are working on digital solutions together. The Connected City originated from the municipal utilities of Duisburg, which wanted to optimise annual service charge statements, in which thousands of paper invoices had to be read out, processed and allocated at the reference date, for customers in the housing industry. Since 2008, they have used Aareal Bank Group's BK01 Immoconnect process solution, which automatically allocates each invoicing operation to a specific meter — making the process much more efficient and transparent. The benefits of the digital solution also impressed Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg [operator of the city's public services], which uses a form of the BK01 Immoconnect solution that is specially adapted to its needs to simplify its complex payment allocations.

Sending invoices digitally with individual data records

Convinced of the benefits of automated payment allocations, both companies soon also digitalised their invoicing processes with Aareal BK01 Econnect, an accounting solution that allows customised invoice files to be sent digitally. Duisburg's district heating provider also recognised the potential of the BK01 solution and has sent its invoices digitally since 2021. Managing Director Matthias Lötting firmly believes that the digitalisation of processes can be expanded. "I think that utilities and the housing industry will become increasingly connected, and therefore believe there is a promising future for this form of joint digitalisation of processes. Digital invoices will definitely be one of the key components in this." At the housing enterprises, billing data either automatically goes into the company's own ERP system or is automatically processed further with housing industry solutions from the BK01 family.

Connectivity for a common Duisburg

Digital connectivity did not just bring the companies closer together from a technological viewpoint, but also in human terms. "There was no competitiveness at all – we worked together really well for a common Duisburg," says Kai van der Hoven, head of the IT department at Duisburger Baugesellschaft. Based on these positive experiences, the companies involved are already thinking about extending the automated payment und invoicing process to other providers, so that local authorities, cable operators and mobility providers can also be included. This close connectivity benefits all those involved and will be the basis for further promising business models. Roman Aiyer from Wirtschaftsbetriebe Duisburg is also convinced of this. "It's a win-win situation that all these stakeholders are able to work together. I think the digitalisation projects that have been implemented together will form the basis for further innovations."

Aareal Bank as a pioneer and partner

We are proud to have supported our clients again and again during exciting transformation processes throughout our company's 100-year history and to have evolved in line with them. In doing this, we aim to make our clients more competitive and fit for the future. If you want to find out more about the success story of our BK01 solutions and their pioneering role in the automation of accounting processes, you can read more here.

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