We have just published our ‘E-State of the Nation 2018/19’ report (now available from www.housing-technology.com/2018report), covering how housing providers are using (and plan to use) technology for their internal business operations and external tenant services. Amid the wealth of up-to-date research and analysis within the report, a few points are worthy of particular attention:
The overall trend is for the wishes of housing providers’ business departments to influence over 70 per cent of technology-related decisions. This is a huge change from as little as five years’ ago when business users were content (or at least had little choice) to ‘get what they were given’ by their IT departments. This is also a significant development from (but rather different to, from a strategic perspective) isolated incidences of ‘shadow IT’, i.e. business users signing up for their own preferred cloud-based services. This change in the dynamics of housing providers’ decision-making doesn’t undermine the strategic importance of their IT teams; on the contrary, it clearly demonstrates the undeniably fundamental importance of IT to housing providers’ operations and the willingness of their business and IT teams to collaborate towards shared goals, rather than trying to mistakenly ring-fence their own territories.
When the respondents to our survey (on which the report was based) were asked to rate the strategic importance of their various line-of-business applications and their satisfaction with them, there was a considerable gulf between their ratings of the relative importance of their various business applications and their actual satisfaction with them.
Growing technology budgets
Despite the widespread talk in the housing sector about austerity measures, rent freezes, welfare reform, increased regulatory scrutiny and the consequent need to ‘do more with less’, one glimmer of optimism is that housing providers’ technology budgets are generally increasing by an average of 17 per cent. This underlines our first point about the importance of IT; even if the rest of their operations are being squeezed every which way, most housing providers recognise that technology has the potential to deliver incredible returns (both quantitative and qualitative) if applied and used wisely.
If you’d like to know more about these topics and the many others covered in ‘The E-State of the Nation 2018/19’, please see www.housing-technology.com/2018report.