Challenge.

Historically at Shire Housing Association (‘Shire’), there wasn’t a great amount of time and resource invested in IT. Recently, the organisation recruited a dedicated IT colleague with an emphasis on strengthening processes, increasing cyber security and on providing operational support to the rest of the business.

Alongside these operational IT changes, the organisation also developed a new growth-based Business Plan and needed an up-to-date IT Strategy which reflected the organisation’s strategic objectives, aligned to the organisation’s overall principles and culture, and positioned the IT remit as a critical one in supporting the organisation to achieve their ambitions.

Solution.

Shire conducted a competitive process to seek specialist support to develop their new IT Strategy and, after assessing the market and considering three proposals, DTL Creative were selected as Shire’s preferred partner.

We were selected due to our knowledge and experience and, most importantly, because our proposed approach was to look at the application innovation and technology in the broadest sense, considering – but not solely focused on – Shire’s housing management system.

The team at Shire did not want this to be a tick box and wanted an IT Strategy that was broad enough to support the wider business objectives and reflected the ambitions and resources available to achieve them.

Approach.

After the project kick-off, we set out to deliver this project in a way that gained buy-in from across the organisation.

This included meeting and running a series of workshops with senior leaders, IT colleagues and operational departments, allowing us to gain different perspectives, provide a forum for idea sharing and to better understand both the strategic and operational challenges faced by colleagues.

We used the information gathered during this discovery process to augment our existing knowledge of good practice to deliver a first draft to management for feedback, before seeking Board approval.

Result.

Shire’s IT Strategy was approval by the Board in May 2021. Board members commented that they were glad that the organisation now had a clear set of IT objectives and principles, and an IT Strategy which reflected Shire’s business strategy and operating environment.

The Strategy also reflects Shire’s customers and recognises that, while there is an expectation for the organisation to digitise it’s services, there are still tenants who are not yet equipped to move towards digital services and will require different options and support.

The Strategy also emphasises the need to apply technology better in order to develop more efficient business processes and improve ways of working for colleagues, allowing them to deliver more value to tenants by avoiding unnecessary tasks.

While the business recognises that there is still a lot of change to manage to deliver the IT Strategy, the consultative and collaborative approach taken to develop the document is a strong first step to ensuring staff engagement and involvement in achieving it.

Testimonials/Feedback.

Working closely with the team here at Shire throughout, DTL Creative have helped us deliver an IT Strategy that distils a complex and vast amount of information into a document that can engage all of our stakeholders. It is concise, includes a plan with estimated costs and effort, and just makes sense! It is a Strategy that the whole business can get on board with.

- Claire Donnelly, Head of Corporate Services at Shire Housing Association