At the Housing Technology 2023 conference, we discussed how housing providers are embracing Microsoft technologies to future-proof their organisations, using examples from our own customers because we knew that the results spoke for themselves.
Whether you are streamlining the processing of landlord certificates, automating your authorisation-to-recruit process or improving your mobile working, there is a Microsoft platform that you can take advantage of. In fact, you may already be paying for it within your Microsoft 365 subscription.
In our presentation, we discussed some of the ways we’ve partnered with housing providers to deliver a wide range of IT services. As a Microsoft solutions partner, we have a particular specialism in helping housing providers get the most from their IT estates, from ‘cloud road-mapping’ to map out their infrastructure’s current and future states, optimising their licensing and storage requirements, to leveraging Microsoft applications and developing a Microsoft-first strategy that adds value to their organisation.
Microsoft Power Platform & Dataverse
Soha Housing’s Power Platform & Dataverse solution for stock conditions and survey management is an example of how we’ve supported housing providers to embrace Microsoft to help change the way they work.
Soha Housing needed to implement a digital solution for its staff to carry out stock conditions surveys. To address the challenges and to support Soha Housing’s objectives, we proposed a Microsoft Dataverse cloud solution with a canvas PowerApp for field use. The solution was built on Soha Housing’s Microsoft Dataverse instance to:
Deliver an experience that’s easy to use, off-line capable, and familiar to staff;
Offer future opportunities around the automation of processes and business intelligence through a single dataset to interact with and report on;
Provide a solid business platform that can be further built on, to Soha Housing’s desire to continue its post-project digital transformation journey;
Upskill Soha Housing’s internal resources on the Dataverse platform;
Provide bi-directional integration with Aareon.
The Dataverse application can be complemented by other services that form part of the same platform. These include:
Power BI for business insights and intelligence;
Power Automate for the automation of business and system processes;
Model-Driven Apps for the desktop user interface.
What were the benefits?
The simplicity of the app meant that surveyors found it easier to use. Soha Housing’s surveyors check around 100 data points during each survey, with each survey now taking around 30 minutes to complete. By building on the Microsoft Dataverse solution, the housing provider found that compared to 2017, our survey solution is saving over 1,000 surveyor-man-hours per month.
Furthermore, the quality of the data is better thanks to Dataverse and Power BI’s capabilities, resulting in more meaningful relationships between different datasets. Soha Housing can also now automate the scheduling of any repairs that arise from the completed surveys.
Soha Housing told us, “TSG complied fully with our brief and developed an easy-to-use electronic survey form populated with our existing asset data that our surveyors can verify while carrying out their inspections and can make any necessary adjustments.
“TSG provided regular progress reports during the design and implementation phases, kept to time and budget, resolved issues quickly and delivered a high-quality product. I would highly recommend TSG to other housing providers looking for a bespoke IT solution.”
Your ‘go-to’ Microsoft solutions partner
When we build partnerships with housing providers, we work as an extension of your team. This means that the Microsoft Dataverse and Power Platform solutions we propose to you are:
Completely under your control.
Moreover, we have a wealth of experience in delivering Microsoft solutions across a range of social housing projects.
We understand housing
Every organisation has processes that can be improved, but few organisations have processes that are as highly regulated as the social housing sector. You’re caught between two worlds; complying with strict regulatory requirements at the same time as giving your tenants the best possible experience.
That’s why it’s important to have an IT partner with a deep understanding of the social housing sector.
For example, we helped English Rural Housing move to Microsoft Azure with a fully-managed service. This enabled the housing provider to create a strong cloud strategy and improve security, mobility and user experience. Our partnership with English Rural Housing gave them access to our knowledge and expertise whenever they needed it, which in turn enabled them to make the right decisions for their project.
Kirsty Marsden is head of housing at TSG.