Aareon securely opens its API ecosystem with Kong Gateway Enterprise

SaaS property solutions organization relies on Kong to modernize its API management approach

Digitizing the property management industry

Aareon is the leading provider of SaaS solutions for the European property industry. It offers user-oriented software solutions that simplify and automate processes, support sustainable and energy-efficient operations, and interconnect all participants. Aareon’s more than 7,000 clients manage approximately 14 million housing units across Europe, including in Germany, the United Kingdom, France, the Netherlands, Austria, and Switzerland.

IndustryBusiness Services
Use CaseInnovate Faster
Customer Since2021

Opening up environments to drive the business forward

Aareon was looking to modernize as a company, following its broader strategy to open up existing environments and create a better experience for customers. As Martin Habib, Head of Development, said, “We were facing a challenge with our existing technology, which didn’t support our goals of switching out and eventually retiring our older legacy API interfaces onto newer API gateway technologies.”

Coming from a closed-shop environment, Habib and his team were looking to provide more APIs for the ecosystem, which would allow them to bring in more partners and customers. They also prioritized cost reduction when looking for a solution to manage their new API-driven environment.

“We wanted to increase and accelerate daily business by reducing manual work while keeping the information in a secure and digital end-to-end system,” Habib said.

The team had many requirements for a solution, especially when it came to supporting their interfaces. They also needed a high level of observability and monitoring, so they could keep an eye on usage for cost management and security. Working in the housing industry, Aareon’s top priority is to make managing tenant relationships as easy as possible for their customers — which requires a solid API-driven infrastructure.


Architecting a state-of-the-art infrastructure with Kong Gateway Enterprise

When they were searching for a new solution, Habib and the team evaluated a number of API management vendors. As they compared their requirements for supporting their interfaces, as well as their needs for reusability and cost management, they found that Kong Gateway Enterprise was the best tool to meet their team’s needs.

“We found that Kong was by far the best gateway management solution we could find for our needs,” Habib said.

Working closely with the Kong Customer Experience team, the Aareon team underwent a large refactoring project to retire their previous ERP system and rebuild a state-of-the-art infrastructure with Kong Gateway Enterprise.

“Now, thanks to Kong, every interface is an API interface,” Habib said. This allows them to deliver APIs, consume APIs, and create a network between our customers, partners, and their clients.


An easy way to deliver products to customers

To build Aaeron’s new open environment that allows customers easy access to its products, Menzel and his team worked with a partner to create a platform they call Aaeron Connect. This readily available platform connects directly to the APIs managed by Kong Gateway and has an extremely user-friendly UI.

Using this platform to deliver products to customers provides a few different benefits. One is around the user experience for customers. The platform resembles an app store and requires less onboarding or training than interacting directly with the gateway. This means that customers can start using the various products in a matter of minutes, providing value instantaneously and without needing to contact the Aareon team for support.

The second benefit is that — due to the direct integration between Aareon Connect and the underlying ERP system through Kong Gateway — data (for instance, a full catalog of available housing stock) is automatically shared for customers to use. The team at Aareon can continue to work on the Kong Gateway Enterprise backend to configure and manage their API gateways, while their customers interact only with the public-facing portal.

Building a secure environment - quickly and easily

Moving from a closed environment to an open one comes with additional challenges, including the potential for increased vulnerability to threats.

Additionally, with its expanding network of customers and partners, Aareon needed to secure many interfaces and products quickly and without taking up too many precious DevOps resources. To accomplish this, Lukas Menzel, DevOps Specialist, and his team use several strategies, including implementing Kong plugins for authorization (OAuth2) and traffic management (rate limiting), alongside monitoring and authentication.

“Adding plugins with Kong was simple and allows us to feel confident in the security of our infrastructure,” Menzel said.

Now, the team can provide more APIs for their ecosystem, increasing business with more partners and customers, while knowing that this network is protected from the myriad threats facing APIs.

Automation and operational efficiency

Habib and the team were also looking to increase their efficiency by implementing a new API management solution while reducing their costs and accelerating their daily business.

By using Kong Gateway Enterprise as the management platform between their APIs and interfaces, they were able to reduce their costs and manual work, while increasing their reusability and time-to-market for new products. The key to this was automation.

“Using Kong Gateway Enterprise, we were able to automate the complete deployment pipeline so everything delivered is configured and doesn’t require hands-on work from developers,” Menzel said.

“In this internet age, you need the most professional and digitized solution available, which means finding partners who are experts in their own areas, like Kong with API management. Partnering with Kong has greatly accelerated our API business and strategy.”

Martin Habib
Head of Development

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