Following a hurried implementation of the Capita Academy housing management system by Phoenix Community Housing, Sovereign Business Integration has been helping the housing provider to improve its reporting and business processes across all areas of its operations.
Formed in 2007 following a LSVT of 6400 properties from the London Borough of Lewisham, Phoenix decided to implement Capita’s Academy housing management system as it was already being used by the London Borough of Lewisham. However, six months after Academy’s implementation, Phoenix found it difficult to support the system and roll-out additional modules and hard to deliver high-quality management information.
As a Capita-recommended consultancy, Phoenix selected Sovereign in 2008 as an impartial adviser to provide project-specific consultancy services and supply interim IT staff to deliver day-to-day system support, with the aim of supporting continuous improvement and efficiency gains to deliver tangible value for money.
Nick Edwards, IT manager, Phoenix Community Housing, said, “Sovereign understands the day-to-day operations and end-to-end processes within housing organisations. They provided a broad spectrum of services that enabled us to use just one supplier who could help to maximise the use of the [Academy] system to deliver more efficient and cost-effective customer services.”
Following the LSVT, Phoenix had a very short timescale and limited resources for the implementation of Academy, so the housing provider focused on a rapid configuration of the system to support key business processes. However, after the system was operational, Phoenix had difficulties producing the management information necessary to measure and monitor the delivery of key strategic and operational objectives – a critical requirement for such a new organisation.
Sovereign’s experience of Capita’s preferred reporting tool, together with its detailed knowledge of Phoenix’s business processes, ensured it could provide targeted support to help Phoenix overcome these difficulties quickly. By working with key users at Phoenix, Sovereign was able to gather and analyse reporting requirements. Once developed, the reports were tested and validated with users alongside a programme of end-user training.
By identifying areas where adjustments could be made to the initial Capita configuration settings, Sovereign and Phoenix have improved performance and reduced unplanned downtime. Sovereign has also developed customised solutions specifically for Phoenix to enhance and simplify the processing of payments such as Housing Benefit transactions and entitlements and annual rent and service charge increases.
During the implementation of a two-way maintenance contractor interface, Sovereign also provided project management and implementation services which involved liaising with maintenance contractors, Capita and Phoenix staff.
Edwards explained, “Sovereign was able to facilitate the resolution of bugs and other problems identified during testing, including the development of innovative solutions to a number of complex technical problems such as increasing the number of appointment ‘slots’ available.”
Following the success of the Capita project, Sovereign continues to support Phoenix in its day-to-day operations and develop solutions for other reporting problems, such as the identification of the data sources needed to comply with future NROSH requirements.