Housing associations have traditionally used legacy housing management systems, but even back in 2007 when I started working in housing, there was a fundamental dissatisfaction with them. They were clunky, and the user experience was horrible. Suppliers were very slow to predict and respond to changing requirements in the sector.
Back then, there was no real alternative. Despite the frustrations and limitations of trying to get systems to do things that they weren’t fit to do, many housing associations trudged on and persisted with existing suppliers because the pain and cost of investing in a replacement system was too great to contemplate. It was felt that the reward would not justify the investment.
Over the last ten years, a number of housing associations have begun to dabble with Microsoft Dynamics, but largely from a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) perspective, overlaying the legacy housing management systems with the new technology. Until recently, if you mentioned ‘Dynamics’ to someone in housing, they would intuitively think of CRM.
In fact, I was speaking at a Housing Management System vs Microsoft Dynamics debate in Manchester a couple of months ago and many of the people in the room, (a housing sector audience), did think we were debating whether Microsoft Dynamics CRM could replace a legacy housing management system — it can’t.
Dynamics 365 can do much more than the traditional CRM
However, the Microsoft offer to the housing sector is now based on the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, and when you consider the fully integrated end-to-end capabilities of the platform — including CRM, Finance and Operations, Field Service, Data and Reporting — you have a very different proposition to consider.
As shown by the Hitachi Solutions’ implementation of the Microsoft platform with the Clarion Housing Group, for the first time, there is now a viable alternative available for the housing industry.
We are seeing a seismic shift, with housing associations recognising that they now have a real choice to consider a solution which can fully underpin their services on a single, integrated platform and give them a full set of integrated capabilities, including:
- Control and visibility of data
- Integrated front and back office
- A mobile workforce
- Dynamic reporting
Moreover, this single platform, end-to-end solution gives housing associations the ability to move between suppliers and support partners. This means real choice and flexibility to force the quality of response and support they really need. Another of the many benefits of the Microsoft Dynamics 365 platform, is that it is supported by billions of Microsoft funding and continual investment. Microsoft Dynamics 365 really is a true alternative to housing association legacy systems and it’s time to think and do things differently.
For more on these exciting solutions, I’ll be speaking at Tech@Housing, part of the Housing 2018 event on 26-28 June in Manchester Central. Click here to register for the event, it’d be great to see you there!