For a while, MIS Active Management Systems, like many other suppliers, have seen the housing management system as the core to everything that they do. However, there is a potential hidden truth in the way we work and operate in housing. So, what is the path to the future? Simply put, the path is made up of certain aspects. Data and technology are two that are becoming more prevalent both now and in the future. The truth is we are merely a component, an element, a unit of something greater.
Anatomy of housing technology
After some reflection, when considering the structure, internal workings and evolutions of a housing management system, it emerged that housing technology as a concept can be linked to the interconnected systems of the human body.
When you consider the architecture of the human body, the system comprises a group of organs working together to serve a common purpose. Similarly, when you consider the components of a housing management system, its overall architecture (including its technologies and capabilities) works best when it works as one system.
Your body works in the most effective way because of how it has been architected, but how many people consider the architecture of their business before they buy their software? Or is this an afterthought? If you could start all over again, what would your path to the future look like?
The heart of housing
The heart of housing is the passion, culture and ethos that drives everything we do and how we do it, with a true aim to support others. The enthusiasm, motivation to go that extra mile, close relationships with customers, and an open and honest approach, are what ensures MIS-AMS delivers benefits to everybody – customers, employees, management, suppliers and the wider society. Have you considered your own values when deciding what software is best suited to help you accomplish your goals?
The brain, the ERP system that controls the body, is where the housing management system comes in. The housing management system instructs everything we do. The EDRM system acts as the brain and is the integrated system that combines and stores data and technologies. With IT services evolving at a faster rate than ever, keeping pace with technological changes can be challenging.
What if you had a resilient, secure and flexible system created to achieve your specific objectives, giving you the brain power needed to innovate faster? For an organisation to work as effectively as possible, it’s important to understand the full end-to-end process.
Only when you know all aspects does automation really play an important part in driving efficiency, consistency and stability because a slight change in one area can cause considerable changes in another. Much like the human analogy, the IT landscape is a living entity that changes with time and with each refinement. Refining and documenting your requirements helps you to overcome challenges because the more accurate the information you have documented is, the easier it will be to train staff or to pick things up if there are staff changes.
The voice of the housing provider
Good communication is key across all sectors, and it is important to ensure this communication is delivered and recorded effectively. Yet, housing providers struggle to deliver exceptional customer service using traditional telephony platforms, due to a lack of digital channels.
MIS-AMS and Incline-IT have created processes in response to feedback from our customers. Almost every customer has mentioned the need to improve the customer experience, provide a more consistent approach, do more with less and, where possible, channel shift towards automation. We have now transformed dreams into reality!
The contact centre is the voice of the housing provider, both going out and coming in through multiple channels. The focus here is getting the answer to the tenant as soon as possible. With the introduction of ‘omni-channel as a service’, multiple channels can work as one to achieve this.
Listen to the customer
Listening to your customers is the key to supporting them in everything they do. This kindly links to the ears, where listening to the customer is key to instructing them based on their wants and needs. Today’s users require 24/7 access to business applications, on more devices, wherever they are. Have you considered what your customers expect from you, and what you could have in place to support them?
To improve the customer experience in social housing, MIS-AMS and Incline-IT have developed bots on a customer-facing portal, using data from their housing management system. This allows their customers to access personal information even faster with ease. Everything is recorded in the CRM system automatically, enabling housing providers to deliver the best possible experience for end users, and their staff working on the systems.
For more complex enquiries, customers can still be transferred from the same bot to a customer service adviser. This leads to enhanced customer service, faster processes and minimised risk. It also provides a consistent approach across a business working in multiple areas, where different departments gain consistency through data capture.
The backbone of your business
The backbone of your business includes your back-office services and your infrastructure all working as one, linked together by the ‘veins’ – your network and suite of integrations. Still, there is no single system that does everything. A weak linkage throughout a business creates a void that restricts the overall quality of the resulting IT architecture and limits the organisation’s ability to apply and sustain the benefits of implementation over time.
Chris McLaughlin, managing director, MIS Active Management Systems, said, “If you’re buying multiple products that don’t communicate with each other, you’re indirectly building a problem. While you’re adding to your IT estate, at some point in time, you’ll need to do an upgrade – in what order do you upgrade your products, when some work with different versions at different points?
“Our focus is centred around managing as much as possible through one system, thereby reducing the interaction points and mitigating the risk of failure in your IT estate. When you then do an upgrade, you are upgrading one system, and everyone has access to all the information they need.”
The hands represent showing your support through social processes and doing great things with all your tenants and all your local areas, which links to your people on the ground – your most important asset.
Andrew McLaughlin, managing director, Incline-IT, said, “If something isn’t solving a problem, it’s not adding value to an organisation. We try to do things to make processes effective and efficient for the users of the system. In our case, it’s the customers of our customers who are the primary beneficiaries.
“From a housing perspective, it might be tenants or even caregivers who receive better customer service when they use our services. Ultimately, we operate around problem statements, and we’ll look at reworking processes with our customers and identify ways of provisioning new services, always coming back to that core question of, “what is it that we’re trying to fix?”
Your most important asset
The feet represent the people on the ground who work closely with their tenants. We live in a 24/7, 360-degree world where information is expected instantly, and it’s vital for everyone on the ground to be able to easily access information, online and offline. Consider their path to the future – innovation is about bringing the right people, processes and technologies together.
You wouldn’t build a house without plans, or foundations. The same applies to your business. All these areas have a purpose and a way of resolving an issue, but to work as effectively as possible, they need to work as ‘one body’.
Chris McLaughlin is the managing director of MIS Active Management Systems, and Andrew McLaughlin is the managing director of Incline-IT.