This issue of Housing Technology marks the end of our ninth year of publishing the magazine. 54 issues and 2,500+ stories later (all available online), we’re taking a look at what to expect in 2017 and beyond as part of our preparations for the forthcoming Housing Technology 2017 report.
Aside from ongoing developments and improvements in (and integration between) applications for particular business areas, such as mobile working, asset management, CRM and digital, we predict three main trends.
The first is what we would term the ‘businessification of IT’. That is to say that the role of IT in housing will accelerate its progress from being originally (say, 10 years ago) a back-office function, through being a value-adding service (say, five years ago) to become the central cortex of housing providers’ operations, with IT driving innovation and change across all of their internal and external services.
The second trend will be around eschewing the blinkered belief that the social housing sector is somehow ‘different’ from other sectors and the resulting somewhat narrow view of the world. Housing providers and technology suppliers will increasingly look at ‘disruptive’ technologies and what’s worked well in other sectors and apply them to housing. At the same time, there will be a trend towards replacing housing-specific software with generic, horizontal applications from companies such as Microsoft and SAP.
The third trend will be around how housing providers handle data, and will split into two streams of data management. The first stream will see housing providers combining and aggregating all the data they hold on tenants, properties, repairs records, finance and so on into ‘data lakes’ in order to proactively analyse, predict and plan the future. The second stream will cover cyber-security and data protection, and in particular how housing providers protect personal data on their tenants.
These three trends (and more) will be covered more fully in the forthcoming Housing Technology 2017 report, details of which will be published in the next issue.