Cambridge City Council’s new digital portal is its latest MRI Software implementation after over two decades as a customer.
Starting from the council’s earliest Unix solution, which ran via DOS-style command prompts, the team at Cambridge City Council now uses MRI Software’s Housing Enterprise (formerly Orchard Housing) alongside Accuserv for repairs, asset management and income analytics. The most recent addition is MRI’s digital self-service portal.
Jon Staff, senior application support engineer, Cambridge City Council, said, “MRI Software has always fitted what the business needed; when we looked at upgrading our entire MRI system, we went out to tender and again MRI came up trumps.”
Staff said, “We’re very keen to use MRI’s Housing Enterprise Web. We use servers running Remote Desktop Services at the moment – we don’t have Housing Enterprise installed on laptops as local clients so our staff access Housing Enterprise via RDS. Housing Enterprise Web means that we’d be able to get rid of most of our RDS overheads, plus it would be much faster as well.”
The upgrade to the web-based HMS will include MRI’s 360-degree dashboard feature to give the council’s customer service teams a panoramic view of tenancies.
Staff said, “In the past, if you were in a repair job and you needed to find the tenant’s personal details, you’d end up with a plethora of screens everywhere. All of that is now contained in a single view within Housing Enterprise Web.”
Cambridge City Council implemented MRI’s digital self-service portal covering rent and tenancy management capabilities. Five months after the portal’s launch, it has around 1,600 registrations, accounting for a fifth of the council’s tenants.
Staff said, “I’ve seen many self-service offerings and the MRI Portal offering is one of the better ones. It’s not as clunky as others; it does pretty much what it says on the tin and it doesn’t look too bad either.”
Cambridge City Council uses MRI Income Analytics as an early preventative measure against tenants falling into serious arrears.
Staff said, “This was a fairly seamless implementation, and it has produced a lot of value. The income team rely on Income Analytics a lot when they’re making their recommendations about which arrears cases to prioritise.”
Property and repairs management
To manage programmes of work and stock condition surveys for planned repairs within its housing portfolio, the council is about to implement MRI Asset Management, which will manage location, HHRS, energy, servicing, asbestos and planned projects.
The council’s previous solution had no integration with MRI Housing Enterprise which meant that repairs data had to be exported into spreadsheets, leading fragmented workflows, data duplication and errors, and problems with GDPR compliance. In contrast, MRI Asset Management is fully integrated with Housing Enterprise.
For the management of cyclical repairs and maintenance, the council will use MRI’s contractor interface, removing the need for manual interventions because it will work from live data.
For custom reporting, the council relies on Accuserv’s customisable tiled report dashboard to identify any outstanding issues or tasks from a repairs and maintenance perspective. For in-depth data interrogation, the council uses BusinessObjects, supplied by MRI, and a data warehouse from IMS for deep analysis of data.
Staff said, “Every consultant and engineer that I’ve dealt with from MRI has been brilliant, friendly and helpful. As a local authority, we’re always looking for the best value, and we’ve never had an inkling that we’d want to move away.”