Technology goes through a period of transformational change every decade or so and Housing is no exception. From digitisation of paper ledger and spreadsheet-based enterprises to Housing Management Systems on desktops as technology progressed, the past 30 years have been nothing short of transformational.
More recently, Housing Managers have adopted integrated IT systems through deployment of mobile technology. Now on-premise finance systems and ERP systems are being replaced with true cloud multi-tenant capability, multi-company data drilldown and much automation – giving organisations the freedom to grow.
All of these changes have their own ways of being seen as revolutionary in providing greater capacity, responsiveness, reach and efficiency for housing businesses. But – they have been based around ‘old school’ housing management that hasn’t changed for over a century. Housing is a conventional business that has been digitised, it is not a digitally reinvented business unlike many other sectors such as online retail.
Looking back to previous roles, I was involved in a previous wave of technology in the Housing and Care homes sector. In my days working for Telefonica (O2) I helped in Sales overhauling facilities management and time and attendance monitoring. Each member of staff would essentially switch on a hand held device in the morning and the application would list the number of tasks that day to do. The GPS would then work out the cost-effective travel solution for the task.
GPS monitoring would find its way through to the finance system on the cost of each task, time, materials for jobs and so on. This was a way of streamlining efficiencies through technology while remaining convenient to the tech users. The Domiciliary Care providers also found this tool useful for making time efficiencies.
Ultimately during this time with 02 I helped save UK Housing landlords huge efficiencies – in achieving more for less – more jobs were completed each day, accurate timely information captured, paper and errors reduced. Given that a lot of revenue flows into these organisations, the need to be cost effective and deliver good value is paramount.
In that respect, not much has changed. Housing Associations are still looking for efficiencies. But the technology has moved on considerably.
So how does one grow, while keeping costs low?
Today, many Housing Associations struggle with on-premise finance or ERP systems. As many as two thirds of existing prospects are outgrowing finance systems that simply don’t do what they need them to do. With these issues and in a time of consolidation within the market, true cloud ERP can help grow your stock while keeping overheads the same – the system can reduce costs very quickly and increase productivity.
With public finances stretched to breaking point, putting increasing pressure on Housing provider business models, not to mention the communities and individuals they serve, it won’t be enough for Housing providers to simply aim for more efficiency in otherwise static ways of doing business. We’re approaching a point at which Housing providers will need to radically reinvent their businesses from the bottom up to survive. And new technologies – and in particular the revolution taking place around Cloud – is going to be one of the driving forces behind that transformation.
Digital Transformation is the new wave
The new wave of Housing technology set to drive change, deploying these sorts of technology in the Social Housing Sector offers us the opportunity of combining automation for better and cheaper tenancy management and more effective targeting of investment. Digital transformation requires in many ways, choosing the right software.
Xledger Cloud ERP, a multi-tenant true cloud solution -available and affordable for Housing Associations and their Finance professionals can harness data in ways that impact on the design and delivery of housing services. Providing the prospect of increasingly intelligent insight into how entities are managed – allows you the scope to grow.
Xledger has multi-company data drill-down capability from consolidation to individual level. Real-time insights and cost reductions with increased productivity and automatic upgrades free of charge quarterly in the cloud, makes it a very attractive Cloud ERP solution to manage change and survive external challenges within the sector.
The simplified finance operations through automation can free up as much as 1/3 of your time, reducing the need for expensive on-premise IT and costly upgrades. Your finance system will never go out of date with true cloud – all improvements are delivered to every client instantaneously – as there is one instance of the database – it really is true cloud.
What will be most different about this new technology era in Social Housing?
It will be that the systems that underpin it will increasingly be central to the design and delivery of the service.
Rather than systems being tacked around existing business processes, increasingly, technology used by the housing provider, and the data that comes from it, will be the fundamental driver behind the design of Housing provider businesses. The ability to gain real-time insight across entities and hierarchies will be a big thing.
This won’t happen immediately and – inevitably – progress will be dependent on significant cultural as well as technological changes in the marketplace. The bigger challenge will be in the Housing sector itself, where we’ll need to see a new culture of investment in and valuing of technology and data, something that has been too often neglected in the past.
So is it time for Cloud ERP to reshape Housing Associations to support them in their digital transformation journeys on this new wave of change?
The answer is simply, yes. Take advantage of the wave of new technology to keep your houses in order.
For further information on Cloud ERP, please get in touch or ring 01173291050 for a chat about how we can help you.