Thrive Homes has partnered with Active Housing to develop a new self-service tenant portal, enabling tenants to manage their tenancies and perform a variety of transactions, including reporting repairs and paying their rents.
Before working with Active Housing, Thrive had developed a tenant app which had received mixed reviews, so the housing provider’s goal with its new portal was to create something that its customers would love and use. This meant creating a portal that was user friendly with a vast range of functionalities to ensure it could deliver true self-service that was easy to use and enabled its customers to have the flexibility to manage their tenancies at any time.
Thrive implemented multiple products from the Active Housing suite, including:
- Active Portal – designed to help residents manage all aspects of their tenancies;
- Active Diagnostics – Active Housing’s award-winning SaaS product range enables Thrive staff and residents to report property problems and manage repair and maintenance appointments;
- Active Requests – An easy-to-use tool enabling residents to request permissions, perform eligibility checks and to ask for information about their tenancies.
Thrive’s main goal was to create a digital offering that was user-friendly. This meant user testing was a priority. Thrive invited a diverse group of its residents with varying digital skills to test the product prototypes and give feedback early in the implementation, which informed changes to the portal designs before the start of development.
An Agile style of project management was used to manage the launch. Regular stand-ups took place via Skype, where Active Housing and Thrive’s project teams discussed their tasks and the project’s progress, as well as keeping in contact via email. During the project’s pre-launch phase, stand-ups were more frequent and took place over Microsoft Teams.
Active Housing was integrated Thrive’s Aareon housing management system to provide real-time, end-to-end transactional services for residents. Active Housing created the workflow definitions to meet Thrive’s requirements for the project, which Aareon then used to develop the necessary APIs.
The lockdown mid-way through the project was a significant challenge. Until the lockdown, important meetings between Thrive, Aareon and Active Housing took place on site. However, during lockdown, this had to shift to using Skype and Microsoft Teams, just as all three businesses were adapting to remote working. Although this was an adjustment, the teams adapted quickly and still managed to deliver the project successfully.
A week before Thrive launched its portal, it invited a group of tenants to beta-test the site. Their comments were very positive, including, “A great portal, I think most tenants will find it easy to use”, “Really helpful, easy to use and a very simple sign-up process” and “So easy to use, better than the Thrive app!”