Housing Technology interviewed Jon Casey, Infor’s sales director for financial solutions, to find out what he sees as the future of technology in housing, Infor’s housing strategy and what he believes should be on IT directors’ agendas for 2011 and beyond.
What is Infor’s housing experience?
Infor has had years of experience providing cost-effective financial management solutions to the housing market. With over 100 housing providers using Infor FMS SunSystems and associated products, Infor has been helping the housing sector for over 20 years, understanding their needs and building on that experience.
Why is Infor involved in the housing sector, given the large number of other industries it covers?
Infor is very aware of the impact of social housing and the need to expand this in communities. To do this in a cost-effective manner, housing providers need the ability to monitor expenses and revenues, account for their housing stock both in renewals and depreciation, and accommodate new government rules such as component accounting.
What does Infor do?
We help housing providers in their drive to provide cost-effective housing solutions. We are determined to provide our customers with the best software experience possible with a lower total cost of ownership. To do that, we have developed and acquired some of the best business software in the market – field-proven solutions that have built-in functionality for specific industries and business processes, backed by experts who understand how you do business.
What is Infor’s proposition to housing providers?
Infor provides full financial management solutions to the housing sector, as well as world-class procure-to-pay, asset management and electronic document management systems that will work not only in the finance arena but throughout the enterprise.
What are the key technology trends in social housing?
Improvements in software and affordability have allowed housing providers to look at how they expand their in-house capabilities to deliver key performance indicators published direct to the screen via reporting dashboards. At the same time, advances in virtualised software are resulting in easy-to-manage systems with built-in disaster recovery, and web-enabled procure-to-pay systems are allowing housing providers to drive down the costs from key suppliers while controlling their spend and IT budgets.
What, if anything, should housing providers be doing to combat digital exclusion?
We believe that digital exclusion tends to be more prevalent in the older population where training and technology become a fog. By planning new homes with digital technology connected and ready to install, housing providers can assist in easing the complications of how to connect. Of course, older housing stock will not have this and HAs will need to use planning and budgeting tools to include this in refurbishments and renewals of their housing stock.
What should be on IT directors’ agendas for 2011 and beyond?
From talking to our customers and based on our housing experience, the three items on every IT agenda should be the deployment of procure-to-pay systems, component accounting to accommodate the new regulations, and budgeting and forecasting.