Affinity Sutton and Civica have completed an 18-month project to deliver a single technology infrastructure and common set of business applications following the merger of three of Affinity Sutton’s major housing associations, between them comprising 22 separate corporate entities. William Sutton, Downland and Broomleigh housing associations’ business operations and housing stock are now managed using a single technology platform mostly made up of Civica software.
Affinity Sutton’s goal was to eliminate massive amounts of process duplication and overlaps, and remove multiple configurations of the same housing and contact management systems used by 1,500 staff across the group, and achieve uniform processes and systems across the merged companies.
Rather than buy a completely new IT infrastructure and suite of applications, Affinity Sutton and Civica decided to set up a single system with processes based on best practice as already used by one of the associations. The consolidated infrastructure and processes are expected to result in annual savings of around £3 million.
Affinity Sutton admitted that while the processes and technologies used for the project were not as ambitious as they might have been, its low-risk approach has achieved, “80 per cent consistency of service with 20 per cent local flavour.” Furthermore, by adopting best practice processes already proven at one of the housing associations, Affinity Sutton and Civica hope to minimise future disruption to business systems, tenant services and innovation cycles.
Affinity Sutton reported that the system overhaul was a particularly difficult technical challenge as it needed to unify some 1,500 reporting interfaces while also training significant numbers of staff in new ways of working.