Longhurst Group’s senior project manager for business improvement, Gavin Black, reports on their experiences as one of the first users of Civica’s web services to create a bespoke tenant portal.
The sector is awash with tales of welfare reform and tenant support, and barely a meeting goes by where value for money isn’t identified as a key measurable. So developing a tenant portal that allows our tenants to manage their tenancies online while reducing the man-hours required to make that possible is like the quest for the Holy Grail.
Our three stock-holding member companies launched My Account to their tenants earlier this year and have been delighted with the feedback received so far. The secure platform offers tenants instant access to rent balances, personal information and their entire tenancy history. Longhurst Group is a federal organisation which means that although all three companies collaborated to develop the product, each has a distinct identity that needs to be upheld throughout the portal. So we needed to find a solution that would work without limiting creativity or functionality.
The answer we came up with was to use secure web services provided by Civica to act as the technical connection between our databases and our websites, and enlist a second vendor to deliver our web design. This allows us complete flexibility when it comes to the look and feel of the website without any implication of reduced functionality. This has also enabled us to ensure that My Account is fully functional on all devices because it has been developed alongside our mobile-enabled, responsive sites.
The efficiency of integrating our websites with our own in-house transactional systems has not only allowed our tenants instant, live access to their own data, but has almost eliminated the need for any human intervention in order to provide that data.
Security was a fundamental element of the project and providing a secure connection required both of our vendors to work closely with us and each other to achieve a watertight system. The secure system we have in place has laid the foundations for further developments designed to integrate with our CRM system.
Gavin Black is the senior project manager for business improvement at the Longhurst Group.