Housing providers’ IT services, and their associated IT teams, are now at the absolute centre of their operations. And at a time when many housing providers are trying to transform their business models and operational processes to become more streamlined, cost effective and better able to cope with things such as universal credit and rent reductions, technology is playing a pivotal role.
It’s therefore vital that housing providers’ board members and most senior executives have a wider understanding of the available technologies and how they can help with business transformation.
They don’t need to know or even understand the technical side of game-changing technologies such as the internet of things, cloud computing, social media and analytics, but they do need to appreciate how these technologies could act as the catalysts for huge changes to their business.
Related to this, and as we’ve covered in previous Editor’s Notes, Housing Technology expects that we will see massive changes to the social housing sector over the next 2-5 years. These will include more mergers and acquisitions as bigger housing providers look for economies of scale, the diversification of income streams and the need to develop new commercial offerings to compete with private-sector companies, upheavals around regulatory and legislative changes from the government, and dealing with changing tenant demographics. And lastly, while its impact is as yet unknown, Brexit will certainly have some repercussions (both positive and negative, no doubt) for the sector.
For all of those areas and many more, technology is by far the most important area to get right.
We would therefore strongly encourage housing providers’ IT directors and heads of their various business units to distil the business benefits and ‘blue sky’ opportunities of new technologies so that board members and senior executives can understand them better and offer more support for new IT and business initiatives.