Many small housing providers are struggling to source a repairs software solution that can deliver the key benefits of an enterprise system yet at an affordable price.
Most housing providers are looking to fulfil their business objectives to improve efficiency and provide digital inclusion by introducing technologies such as repair diagnostics, self-service portals, mobile working and other back-office functions.
They want a system that’s not only quick to implement and intuitive to use but also doesn’t need an army of specialist IT staff to get up and running. The system must have plug-and-play connectivity with other business applications to enable trouble-free integration and support automated data transfer.
Lastly, it must be affordable and easy to buy, usually on a monthly subscription, without needing to go through a time-consuming tender process.
The key questions that need to be answered fall into three main areas:
- Business objectives and functional ‘hotspots’;
- Project delivery;
What are the ambitions of the organisation – is it general efficiency gains, driving increases in productivity, doing more jobs in less time, and how does these balance with achieving high levels of customer satisfaction and achieving softer objectives such as community engagement and helping the homeless?
It’s important to map the functional hotspots that drive the business objectives, such as mobile working, resource scheduling, job costing and the ability, at a technical level, to share services with other housing providers and how they help achieve key deliverables such as:
- Completing more jobs ‘right first-time’;
- Having the right information to make better decisions;
- Meeting appointments when expected by the tenant;
- Providing more responsive and convenient services to tenants;
- Full and accurate end-to-end visibility of a repair across the organisation.
Project delivery needs to cause the least disruption to the business and to be cost effective and use best practice where appropriate. Agile is the new way forward, and by combining this with using standard templates, training videos and fast feedback loops means you can demonstrate progress to the end-users sooner. It’s then about continuous improvement using retrospectives as the way of finding out what’s working and what’s not and ensure the maximum RoIT is obtained.
When procuring a small system, organisations don’t want to go through a costly and time-consuming tender process but need to ensure due diligence and value-for-money. Using e-procurement takes less time than traditional procurement. Having your records stored electronically makes it easier to submit reusable tenders. Meanwhile, use of templates means paperwork can be filled out faster.
E-procurement asks suppliers what they can offer, rather than how they can meet a brief. The use of templates ensures pricing and solution templates are standard across all suppliers, which means it’s easy to compare suppliers across categories. Pricing is transparent and provided up-front.
For the last few years ROCC, has been working to resolve these issues and wants to engage with smaller housing providers to work with them realise this vision.
Chris Potter is managing director of ROCC.