We are in the middle of gathering data for our ‘The E-State of the Nation 2018’ report (there’s still time to contribute to the online survey at www.housing-technology.com/2018report), so we thought it would be interesting to give you a very rough snapshot of the likely trends so far:
- Business vs. technology decisions – Housing providers’ business teams now tend to drive most technology decisions, particularly around software for tenant communications, housing, finance and asset management, and external contractors, while the underlying technology infrastructure is, not surprisingly, driven by IT departments.
- Housing providers’ digital transformation plans are strongly angled towards moving towards more cloud computing (internal) and more self-service options (external).
- Innovation for both IT and business is driven mainly by an equal mix of in-house staff, best practice from other housing providers and ideas from IT suppliers.
- The barriers to integrating disparate applications are predominantly the cost of external consultants, disparate data formats, dealing with legacy systems and a lack of in-house expertise.
- On-premise IT is still more common than cloud-based services, but these are fast catching up (particularly hybrid cloud).
- Business applications – Aside from the obvious importance of ‘traditional’ housing, CRM, asset and finance management software, social media and tenant self-service are two noteworthy additions to most housing providers’ core business applications, although self-service applications do have the lowest ratings overall for customer satisfaction.
- IT infrastructure – Big data and the internet of things are both poised to become critical parts of housing providers’ main IT infrastructure, despite both areas scoring the lowest overall for customer satisfaction.
- Technology budgets are rising, with a general trend towards annual increases of around 40 per cent.
- New IT projects vs. ‘keeping the lights on’ – Technology budgets are now broadly split equally between delivering new technology projects and maintaining existing systems.
Please note that these are merely general themes from the data gathered so far; the final report will naturally be more empirical and exact when it is published in September 2018.