With the pressure on both demand and supply, social housing needs innovation supported by IT as much as any public service
The social housing sector has been under financial pressure for a long time, with the Government financial support dwindling while the demand for homes at affordable rents continues to rise. However, the landscape is changing with Government’s announcement of the first significant supply support for decades – and a goal of building 25,000 new homes for social rent.
Whilst this will not solve the housing problem overnight, housing associations have to respond by finding new ways to both build and maintain good quality homes, and to reduce their operational costs. Indeed, transformation of their IT estates will play a significant part in the effort: they have to change it from a rigid cost centre into a resource for innovation, reducing their costs while raising service levels and customer satisfaction.
This will require a handful of significant steps. Associations will have to fully integrate their front and back office systems, taking advantage of the capabilities of cloud services. They will have to become more commercially focused, using customer relationship management (CRM) functions to support marketing and targeted sales. And they will have to provide more self-service functions and intelligent assisted service applications for their field staff.
They will also face a series of challenges to support their business: building a single source of data for accurate reporting; automating more business processes to improve productivity; building in the flexibility to adapt to new processes and external changes; and develop a more predictive and personalised approach to tenancy and asset management.
These are stiff demands, but it is possible to meet them by harnessing the latest platforms and technologies from Microsoft. These can underpin agility and efficiency, and enable organisations to innovate and respond creatively to changing pressures and demands.
PowerObjects is providing an opportunity for social housing providers to explore how best to harness technology to meet today’s transformation challenge with a webinar on Tuesday 21 November, at 2.00pm. The discussion will cover the key challenges and opportunities they present, including Dynamics 365 as a Platform, Cloud, Security, Big Data, the Internet of Things, AI and Bots.
Image by Les Chatfield, CC BY 2.0 through flickr