Accent Group has just completed the upgrade of its ActiveH housing management system by six versions.
Accent first implemented MIS-AMS’s ActiveH software in 2012. Although the implementation was a success, its operational systems suffered from teething problems caused by the integration of complex processes from three different subsidiaries. In 2013, Accent consolidated into a single virtual organisation with a personal, modern and better service proposition for its residents. In the intervening period, Accent had declined five ActiveH system upgrades with another one pending.
Andrew Williams, director of customer services, Accent Group, said, “We decided to treat the upgrade as an opportunity to redesign, retrain and rebrand. In the end, we leapt a full six versions which is a key stepping stone to implement our ICT strategy for the next couple of years. At the forefront are our plans for mobile working for front-line staff and modern contact centre arrangements for dealing with what remains the primary channel of communication with residents – the telephone. Our next project is the implementation of our tenant self-service website using the portal functionality provided by MIS-AMS. Without the upgrade, none of this would be possible.
During the project, which lasted six months, Accent wrote over 50 new procedure guides which flushed out differences in the application of processes. It then re-trained every front-line staff member and most back office staff to support users to regain confidence in the system.
Williams said, “In practice, we found out as much about our processes as we learnt about the new system and we plan to further streamline our core processes next year ready for mobile working. Paper-based forms will soon be a thing of the past”
Neal Somerville, IT project manager, Accent Group, said, “The project to successfully upgrade ActiveH by six versions depended on buy-in and commitment from all involved. From 2011 to 2013, we found that MIS had improved its system with many new features that we were not benefiting from. There were over 750 system enhancements that all required analysis and management. A lesson learnt for us; we’ll be upgrading at least once a year from now on!”