The first meeting to discuss our plans for technology integration and communication standards in housing was held in early April at Circle Anglia’s London offices.
The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the high-level goals for what the Housing Technology Standard (HTS) should achieve and how it would make application integration and data transfer easier for housing organisations, for their internal processes as well as for their communications with external suppliers and contractors.
After much constructive discussion, the event’s attendees agreed the following high-level summary for the Housing Technology Standards Board and the rationale behind the standards themselves:
Vision and aims
The Housing Technology Standards Board (HTSB) will drive the creation and adoption of open standards which improve and simplify the exchange of data between housing organisations’ internal business applications and with external organisations and contractors.
By removing the complexity of transferring data between different internal and external applications and reducing IT switching costs, the adoption of HTS v1.0 will streamline business processes to deliver better services to tenants, improve communications with external suppliers, accelerate internal decision-making, and improve external reporting.
HTSB ‘manifesto’ (abbreviated version)
• To create open, independent and application-neutral standards and structures for data transfer between disparate IT and business applications/services (e.g. the iCal standard for calendars).
• To ensure that the standards cover as wide a range of processes as possible without diluting the core aims or becoming too complex or specific.
• To encourage and educate end-user organisations (i.e. HAs and RSLs) in the merits of adopting and enforcing these standards, with support and endorsement from industry bodies.
• To use the standards as a means of improving IS quality and making consequent improvements in tenant services, internal decision-making, supplier communications and external reporting.
• To improve the procurement process for end-user organisations, external contractors and technology suppliers.
• To use the standards to inform purchasing decisions for best-of-breed applications.
• To make it easier, cheaper and faster to switch IT applications and services, thereby increasing choice and reducing supplier ‘lock-in’.
• To reduce initial implementation costs and ongoing running costs.
• To encourage the adoption of minimum requirements in tender/RFP documents, such as the supplier’s database and interface schemas and their adherence to HTS v1.0.
The HTSB vision and manifesto are clearly still in draft form. The next meeting, which is expected to be in late May, will generate more detail and, we hope, result in some definite activities to take things further.
Tell us what you think
Please email email@example.com with your comments on the vision and manifesto of the HTSB. If you have already contacted us about the standards, we will be in touch with you directly, but still feel to send us your comments now that HTS v1.0 is clearer.
Kindly hosted by John Paul, head of IT at Circle Anglia, the meeting was attended by representatives of the following organisations:
Affinity Sutton – Chris Battye, Amicus Horizon – Stephen Wakeford, Aster Group – Roy Thompson, Circle Anglia – John Paul, Family Moasic – Saul Stevens, Future Housing – Dave Morris, Glasgow Housing Association – Allan Speir, Home Group – George Schley, LHA-ASRA – Anil Majevadia, North Hertfordshire Homes – Sante Giancola, Orbit Housing – Richard Sowell, Presentation – Tracey Johnson, Saxon Weald – Justin Chamberlin, Sentinel Housing – Peter Davis, West Kent Housing – Peter Brightwell, and Whitefriars Housing – Andrew Carroll.