I’ve been working in social housing for 16 years now and I can honestly say that there has never been so much choice as far as technology being available to the sector. Some of this is sector specific such as housing management systems, finance and rents solutions, repairs software and so on and some of it is more general in nature that could fit into any organisation. There is property related technology (PropTech) that is literally changing lives for the better. There is Artificial Intelligence tools available that is improving the communications and customer service of operators. It is not the case anymore of it simply being the option of what Housing Management System you chose. This was the norm for a while. These modular-based systems have all seen their fair share of the good, the bad and the downright ugly over the years. In some cases, depending on the implementation, a specific supplier could be both good, bad and ugly, and therein lies the problem. One system rarely fitted all. We still see some strong housing management systems in practice, and we still see some good examples of implementations and commissioning of systems, however, the general feeling is that we do not see the overall systems architecture being as effective as it could be. There are gaps, and as a sector we can do a hell of a lot more in ensuring systems, their use, their purpose is in line with the clear directive of improving customer service.
There are many systems out there that can supplement a core system, indeed replace, and improve the lacking functionality of specific modules. These are typically what we call best of breed solutions, systems that have had significant specialist development, investment and knowledge poured into them. They don’t do everything, but in some cases, they do one thing particularly well. There are income management tools, there are AI based systems that deal with optimisation of field and fleet management for repairs, there are tools that deal with compliance and there are systems that deal with communications such as chat bots. All of these and more are able to exist outside, yet connected to other systems. So, how do you join the dots? How do you make your overall IT estate and architecture as effective as it could be?
The above talks about systems, software, tools….whatever you want to call them, but there are other things as well. What about data, and it’s importance in continuous improvement, ensuring it is seen as an asset just as important as a property itself. Insight, intelligence and action can all be realised through the proper management and control of your data. So, there is that dot as well.
What about infrastructure? Is this a thing of the past now that we are all moving to cloud solutions and software as a service? Not really. You still need laptops, desktops, tablets, phones, phone systems, switches, routers, wi-fi and many more. Your core systems may sit in the cloud or a hybrid cloud environment, but you cannot escape the fact that devices and their optimal use with your systems are another series of dots needing joined.
So many dots. You see our point. If you can join the dots however, you start to see greater efficiencies. It becomes a holistic well-oiled machine and not just a disparate set of IT systems, equipment and services. You see cost savings, you see technical and strategic management of your tech estate become simpler and you see the true purpose of serving the customer become an evident deliverable of IT.
So, let’s talk about joining the dots in UnCon 22, the UnConventional Convention that brings technology to you in a well proven format that allows not only learning and insight, but also a great opportunity to network with your peers.
About the event
There are so many factors in ensuring the best possible customer service within social housing. Technology and its many components is only one very important consideration, but how do we join all the dots to ensure it delivers.
The event will focus on how landlords can join the dots in a noisy world of options and technologies, with five key sessions….
• Session 1: How can we use data better and what is its role in joining the dots.
• Session 2: Is there an ideal systems architecture for housing?
• Session 3: Is technology truly serving the aims and ambitions of housing leaders in today’s world.
• Session 4: Is the sector behind the curve with technology adoption? What can we learn from outside housing?
• Session 5: Can we really improve the lives of those in social housing through technology?
If these are topics/questions you are keen to learn more about, we have assembled a series of experts to discuss, debate and inform on some of the hottest topics we face as a sector.
In typical UnCon style we will also be introducing some real-life stand-up comedians to help us through the day. We are not giving too much away, but its going to be great fun and an event to remember.