A gathering of minds
Hosting 11 key figures from some of the biggest housing associations in the country, the roundtable we recently organised alongside Inside Housing was a fantastic opportunity to find out how the industry is changing. And the event was a resounding success.
The discussion centred around how digital technologies are transforming the way associations work, allowing them to give tenants the digital experience they’re beginning to demand. Before long, two key issues became clear.
The first was that many housing associations are finding that their customer data is so spread out, that it’s difficult to get a single view of any one customer. For example, one attendee said: “One frustration we have is the lack of a single view of the customer. We have around 42 different systems. Trying to join those things up is the devil’s own job.”
This comes as no surprise when you consider that many of these companies have been collecting customer data for up to 30 years. During this time, technology has moved forward in leaps and bounds. Therefore, one long-term customer could have multiple data entries on multiple systems. It’s very difficult to base business decisions on data like this, which poses a big problem for housing associations.
That brings us to the second key issue — legacy IT. When your business spans the coming and going of different technologies, it’s common to end up with an IT setup that’s riddled with legacy infrastructure. And that — according to our roundtable — is exactly the situation that many housing associations face. There’s a problem with trying to get disparate legacy systems that have been bolted together over time, to work together.
As one attendee put it: “We’ve been talking about digital for so long it feels like a bit of a faux subject. We don’t have a holistic business design; we’re dependent on legacy systems; we’re in our infancy in terms of end-to-end models; and tactical reactions to events and mergers detract from businesses’ focus on digital.”
Finding a solution
The question is: how can housing associations overcome these challenges?
The answer, I believe, is our Hitachi Housing Solution, which allows housing associations to collect all of their data, across all business functions, into one easily manageable place. It’s also the first and only solution that enables the decommissioning of legacy housing systems in order to move them onto a Microsoft platform.
In a nutshell, it ideally suits the unique challenges faced by housing associations.
So, although it’s clear from the roundtable that digital technology has challenged housing associations to transform — it’s also digital technology that can provide the solution.
And for a more detailed look at what the experts talked about at the roundtable, make sure to read Inside Housing’s full report.