The ‘C’ word has crept into the November issue of Housing Technology but with good reason. As we approach the beginning of 2014, which ‘must-have’ technologies will be on your Christmas list and what New Year resolutions will you make and try to keep?
While most housing providers have adopted mobile working to greater or lesser extents, cloud computing, analytics and social media should be on most housing IT director’s wish-lists for 2014. Why? Because individually they each represent an important part of housing providers’ operations. Cloud computing gives you more flexibility, greater agility and better financial control compared with on-premise servers and IT infrastructure. Analytics, including its ‘big data’ incarnation, is vital for housing providers to be able make sense of the wealth of data they hold, albeit often in dislocated datasets, so that they can model, forecast and predict outcomes for better decision making. And social media is becoming ubiquitous as an additional two-way channel for tenant communications, particularly for tenants whose main internet access point is through mobile devices.
However, social media, mobile, analytics and cloud (SMAC – see Housing Technology, July 2013) should collectively exist in an overlapping matrix, where the importance of each of them increases because it takes advantage of the capabilities of one or more of the others.
These technologies also address many IT directors’ long- and short-term issues. At a tactical level, they are concerned about areas such as BYOD, dealing with ‘shadow IT’, reducing IT operating costs, and integrating cloud with in-house operations. At the same time, their strategic concerns are likely to include data quality, dealing with the demand for innovation, preventing IT being viewed as a commodity and presenting IT as an enabler at the heart of the business, and reducing IT complexity.