How can housing providers better connect their staff and tenants to deliver better outcomes for their communities? Let’s look at data management, compliance risk and digital agendas as three ways of doing so.
Creating a single view for better outcomes
Inconsistencies occur when data is not consolidated, affecting an organisation’s ability to make informed decisions. By creating a single view of critical data, housing providers can gain a better understanding of tenants and their homes. For example, this single view, enabled by the cloud, supports tenants and streamlines their service experience by allowing housing providers to quickly understand factors such as the number of people on housing waiting lists and the value of rent arrears.
And having a single view of your data will also improve your internal processes. Having all of your data in one place, via a scalable platform using cloud-based software, allows social housing providers to understand the financial consequence of every decision to inform future customer actions. It also enables organisations to identify in real time where spending inefficiencies occur, meaning internal processes can be streamlined and decisions can be driven by live data, on the ground, on the spot. Furthermore, software such as Civica’s cloud-based Cx housing and financial management system provides a real-time view on rent payments and arrears. This enables housing providers to work smarter through automation and streamlining processes.
Reduce costs by minimising compliance risk
Predictive technologies such as AI and robotic process automation can help organisations spot potential problems before they occur, reducing risk and supporting the regulatory compliance of data and assets. Implementing cloud software will give organisations a complete view of how much each property costs to maintain so they can effectively plan, manage and control assets’ repair and maintenance budgets.
While many housing providers might not think they’re in a position just yet to implement these predictive technologies, there are financial solutions that many providers use today that offer live management information, giving you the ability to study costs and profitability based on real-time data.
Unitas, the housing repairs and maintenance arm of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, recently integrated their repairs and maintenance software with Civica’s cloud-based financial software to deliver real-time management information, streamline invoice management and quickly monitor and analyse their costs and profitability.
Driving a digital agenda
The rise in self-service in retail and banking has developed a consumer expectation of 24-hour contact and delivery at any location, a flexibility in the variety of channels that people can use to interact with organisations.
These expectations have spilled over into the housing sector; tenants want to be able to contact and speak to their housing provider through the means and channels of their choice, and they expect instant responses. That’s why housing providers need software that can help them deliver efficient, connected and responsive services to tenants, enabling them to self-serve at any time and through their preferred channel.
Technology is helping to expand the lines of communication across the board. For example, cloud software facilitates mobile working so that housing staff can work in their communities to securely share live information with tenants and partners while also encouraging a paperless agenda. For example, Prospect Community Housing has improved communications and increased channel shift, with 35 per cent of its tenants switching to self-service within three months.
Through access to a single view of data and greater insights into where money and time is spent, housing providers can overcome market challenges and deliver better outcomes for people and communities.
Jeff Hewitt is the executive director for housing and communities at Civica.