Building on the value of data in Housing Associations
Oliver Barrett, Business Development Manager for Housing Associations at Phoenix, takes a look at what he’s seen happening in the sector as a result of COVID-19 and how the use of data in the housing sector has proved so critical to current and future plans …
“Over the last four months I have been lucky enough to be part of a Team that have supported a great number of Housing Associations with the challenges caused by COVID-19, enabling employees to support tenants with productivity applications, remote communications and access to valuable information.
Working with the sector at this time has given me a great insight into the varying investments into IT that Housing Associations have made in the last few years. I’ve seen situations where those that have invested in remote desktop technology, cloud-based productivity suites and instant communication technologies, have been able to provide a continuation of service, with some only changing their physical location to a home office/dining table – essentially delivering ‘business as usual’.
However, some Housing Associations have had to implement new solutions that they were not ready for and through some exceptional effort from their IT Teams, they have put in place workable solutions to continue operations. These may not have always been in line with strategy, best practice or the most secure, but they were workable solutions that supported the services they needed to deliver to tenants.
The Housing Associations that had made that investment in technology over the last few years really demonstrated the move to user-centric service delivery, viewing the user as the key component and providing them access to services and technology that allows them to deliver services to the tenants. The shift away from spinning disks and flashing lights to enablement of user productivity is clear to see. Providing information access and job reporting to Service Engineers using mobile devices has improved efficiency from traditional paper-based transactions that required Engineers to pick up jobs and report back with a visit to an office.
This all leads to the work that we are really seeing a massive growth for Housing Associations – access to meaningful and valuable information that provides insight into what the tenants need, demonstrating the best allocation of resources to improve the services they deliver.