As the saying goes, “good houses are built on strong foundations.” The same rationale applies to housing providers’ myriad plans for digital transformation.
Digital transformation means different things to different people, ranging from the wholesale replacement of entire IT infrastructures and applications through to merely ‘reskinning’ existing websites. However, what most digital transformation projects have in common, regardless of their size, scope, cost or complexity, is a strong emphasis on the creation of a digital ‘presentation layer’ for access to services, whether for housing providers’ staff or their tenants.
The centre cannot hold…
In the same way that hastily or shoddily-built houses will be fine for a short length of time, so too will new bright and shiny digital housing services. But without solid, dependable foundations, both those houses and those services are very likely to fail to deliver in the longer term.
For digital transformation projects, those oh-so-necessary, solid foundations need to be data and associated data-driven processes.
While it is undoubtedly tempting to opt for some ‘easy wins’ through the creation of digital versions of existing analogue services or processes, these need to be underpinned by a commitment to review your data, its internal and external sources and final destinations, then de-duplicating, rationalising and cleaning it then, ultimately, automating as many of your data-driven processes as possible.
Only then can you create the right foundations for the long-term success of your digital transformation plans. Yes, it will take longer and will cost a little more in the short term but the alternative will certainly be, at best, a false economy.
As the expression goes, “If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”