2016 was a very good year for DtL Creative, in that we increased our customer base, saw our LinkedIn Group (Housing Management Systems: Best Practice) grow with over 1500 members, and I also personally took part in a number of events, working groups and publications.

After the slump in spending a few years back, the social housing market seems to be spending again, and with it improving their systems, strategies and generally using technology for the better good.

However, there are still some significant areas where even further improvement is required, and on this subject, you may just have seen one or two of my posts around data specifically, an area I am becoming more and more involved in. This is one area where we need to get to grips with not only the regulations and legalities but also the management and quality of it. And rather than just talk about it, we have started doing something about it.

Towards the latter part of 2016 we started working on a pilot with a large housing provider and a data analytics company to do just that…..to help landlords up and down the country develop roadmaps, analytics and technology and to bring them together to bring real insight. Our aim is to fine tune this offering and roll it out across the sector, so watch out for this exciting development in the growth of DtL Creative in 2017.

From the beginning of 2016, we continuously won more customers in the area of systems implementation, with six different projects on the go throughout the year with some of them continuing into 2017. This is an area where we have grown constantly over the years and as you will see one where we continue to win customers and in all honesty feel we are building a strong reputation.

It was interesting to see that out of the six we were working on, two were with Capita, one was with Northgate and three were with Civica. In fact, when you look at this breakdown of suppliers it is very interesting in that not only are the products different in so many ways, the methods of implementations and approach to roll-outs are indeed also very different, and I admit that in some cases they are even a tad complicated where they need not be, confusing where they need not be, and still very resource intensive, again in my opinion not necessary. Implementations need to be a lot more efficient.

We have just finished a project where we developed a systems improvement strategy where the objective was to see if a customer could look at re-engineering processes, systems architecture and the way in which they worked with supplier/s to possibly avoid going to a lengthy and complicated procurement process. We would like to see more of this, as way too often landlords simply jump down the path of procurement without thinking about the alternatives.

So, moving into 2017, we will shortly be announcing two more implementations helping landlords get the best out of their change projects. In line with this, we will be encouraging both buyer and supplier to seek a more effective process.

Moving on, we will also be looking at cloud technologies with one customer, finalising a Unified communications project, and working on another systems review exercise.

So, in a nutshell, things are moving in the right direction for technology and its relationship with the social housing sector, however if I have one mission in 2017, it is this…..

Let’s stop blaming suppliers and work with them to get the best out of them.

Its going to be a busy one folks.

Oh, and there is an amazing top secret launch in May. Watch out for that!