At Housing Technology’s ‘Reform IT’ event in September 2013, a common theme emerged regarding the impact of universal credit and the experience from regional trials; and it was the impact on resources, rather than on debt. My notes from a number of presentations on the day include quotes such as “the key is to free up front-line capacity in order to support tenants”, and “our operations need to be much more efficient so our staff have more time to engage with residents”.
This started me thinking about the role technology can play in delivering or supporting business objectives, and how its real value comes not from features and functions, but in enabling organisations to meet new challenges or achieve strategic goals.
Thinking of my own field of ERP – the integrated business platform – I started working back from what I’d heard at Reform IT. The integration of systems and data leads to more efficient and joined-up processes, which means people can get more done in less time, and/or certain tasks can be completed with the involvement of fewer departments. And when you consider the inclusion of an enterprise mobility platform, which makes these integrated systems and data available outside the office, the same efficiencies can be seen in the field and staff therefore need spend less time travelling back to offices to complete their tasks.
So one of the results of adopting this kind of technology is the support of a fundamental and very tangible business outcome; to enable staff to spend more time visiting and supporting tenants, which the trials have shown as necessary to help meet the challenge of universal credit.
All technology offers features and functions, and most people will tell you these are only valuable when they deliver benefits. But the true value, and the real ‘light bulb moments’, only come from matching these benefits to business outcomes, especially when those outcomes are at the top of the agenda.
Paul Swannell is the sales manager for social housing within Ciber UK’s SAP Practice