Friday, 2 April 2021

The Black Hit Of Space

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

One single from my 1970’s, way before Phil Oakey made the Human League 80’s cool with Susan and Joanne, has always stuck with me as lyric brilliance, The Black Hit Of Space. 

Now I love the Human League pre & post the split, but this track must be one of the most brilliant. It’s the tale of stuff getting out of hand. A hit that reaches number one in the charts, then carries on into minus figures.

“I reached for the tone arm which was less than one micron long, but weighed more than Saturn and time stood still”

For some finance teams, their chart of accounts can feel like that turntable tone arm, weighing more than Saturn. That’s the second largest planet in our solar system and I would say that if anyone out there has more than 5,000 cost centres in their chart of accounts, they probably have a Saturn Shaped problem. The big question is ‘Why’?

The answer is usually that staff, managers etc cannot extract reports from feeder systems, so they ask for more and more detail to be recorded within the finance nominal or general leger. The point that is missed unfortunately, is that the detail clearly already exists in the feeder (Housing, Repairs or Contractor etc) solutions. So why push the feeder system problems, further down the line?

I have heard many tales and witnessed a few organisations suffering this issue. Many people tell me they don’t get it. My explanation is the difference between my shopping trips and my credit card bill. The former could include lots of craft beer, fancy cheese and macaroons. Perhaps 50-100 items and lots of detail. I pay using a credit card. When I look at my Visa bill, I can see what I spent at Morrison’s, but not how much of it was cheese. That was detailed on my shopping bill, if I was interested in analysing it.

The detail stays where it belongs.

Organisations need to stay firm to use finance solutions at the level that is sensible. They should not be providing a Band Aid plaster to get around poor reporting facilities, elsewhere in the organisation feeder systems. Finance team manager’s need to be strong in how they tackle this. The answer is not to expand finance, its to sort out detail reporting.

As anyone who knows me from procurements, they know my distain about the general quality of standard system reporting provision. Tragically, some have laid this deficiency at the door of finance teams. If you are a finance manager or director, suffering a chart of accounts looking like Saturn, then revaluate your feeder solution and work to slim Cost Centres down.

Look again and invest in feeder systems, no need to get James Burke on the case….

Related Post:Sick of software providers? Why not DIY ?


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Human League – Black Hit Of SpaceHuman League – Black Hit Of Space.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

Could we help you or your organisation? Our contact details are here , get in touch we will be pleased to chat about your problems and help with your organisation issues.


File Under: #HomesForBritain,#HousingDAY,#InternetOfTenants,#Shout,#UKHousing, 07854655009, 1st Touch,1stTouch,360,365Agile,3squared,4Js, ACL,ALMO,AMS,AX,Aareon,Abritas,Academy,Accuserv,Accuserve,Active Housing,ActiveH,ActiveHousing,Acutence,Advanced,Agile,Agile365,AirWatch,Alfresco,Alignment,Allpay,Amazon Web Services,Anite,Apex,App,ArchHouse,Archouse,Asprey e-state pro,Asset Management,Associates,Aurora,Average IT Costs,AWI SX Integration Toolkit,AWS, BI,BO,BPR,BancTec,BigChange,Blockwise,BluTek,Bluebox,Blueprint,Browser Applications,Business Objects,Business Planning,Business Process Review,Business social networking, CACI,Capita One Housing,CBL,CCS IT Keystone CCSIT,CEDRM,CHICS,CHR,CIH,CMS,COA,CORE,CPL,CRM,CRM2013,CRS,CTI,CTX,Cadcorp,Capita,CapitaOne,Capita One,Capital Management,Cashflow,Castle,Castleton,Castleton Technology,Cedar Open Accounts,Cerrus,Change,Charges,Chartered Institute Of Housing,Cheaper Housing IT,Chics, Citrix,Civica,Civica CTX,Civica Cx,Civica Genero,Civica Saffron,Clearview,Clik,Cloud Dialogs,CloudDialogs,Coactiva,Codeman,Comino,Commontime,Community Reward Services,Company,Competitive Dialogue process,Component Accounting,Consilium,Consolidation, Consultancy,Consultant,Consultants,Contact Manager,Context,Contractor Systems,CorVu,Cost Reductions,Covalent,Crystal Reports,Customer Relationship Management,Cx, DRS,Deeplake,Designer Software,Development Systems,Director,Document,Documotive,Docuware,Dynamic AI,DynamicAI,Dynamics 365,D365,Dynamics365, ECMK,EDM,EDRMS,ERP,ESRI,Elmhurst,Enghouse Interactive,England,English,EnterpriseBI,Estatecraft,Etive,Exhibition,Exponential-e, Facebook,Factorwise,Field Service management,Finance,Financial Systems,Financials,Footprint,Forms,Freezes,Fusion,Firmstep, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,Goss Interactive,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex,Granicus,GOSS HFI (Housing Financials interface),HG,HRA,Hardware,Hitachi Systems,Hitex,HomeMaster,Hometeam,HouSys,House,Housemark,Housemark survey,Housing,Housing Contact,Housing Group,Housing Insight,Housing Management,Housing Management Consultant,Housing Partners,Housing Portfolio Management System,Hub Asset Management,Homeswapper,Housing jigsaw, Housing Support Pro,HousingIT,HousingSupportPro,HyperOptic, IMS,IT,IT Budget,IT Training,ITIL,Impact Response,In,In4,IEG4,In4Systems Promaster,InfoBoss,InHouse,InMotion,InMotion2015,InMotion2016,InfoBoss,Infoflow,Information,Information Technology,Information@Work components,Informix,Innovation, Informetis,Inphase,Inside Housing,Insight,Internet Portal,Internetalia,Invu,Ireland,Irish,itLab, Keyfax,Keylogic,Keypera,Keystone,Kirona,Kypera, Landlord,Ledgers,Linkedin,Liquid,Locality,Localz,Liberty, M3,MAVIS,MD,MDM,MI,MIS,MIS-AMS,MISCS,MRI,MS Dynamics,MRI,MS Dynamics CRM2011,Microsoft365,microsoft 365,MWL,Management,Management Server,Manifest,Measuring,Mebus,Microsoft Dynamics 365,Microsoft dynamics GP 2013,Miracle,MobileIron,Mobysoft,Monopoly board images and pictures,Montal,Mr Void,MriEngage,MrVoid,MRI Socialhousing,MRISocialhousing, NDL,NINTEX,NINTEX workflow,NPS,NPS ASSIST,NPS Housing,NPS Job Manager Mobile,NROSH,Natural,Neighbourhoods and Communities,Nintexworkflow,Northgate,Northgate Codeman,Northgate Public Services,Notice,Netcall,Netcall Liberty,NEC Software Solutions OA,OGC Buying Solutions,OJEU Limits,ORS,Ohms,OmFax,Omniledger,One,OneAdvanced,OneServe,Open source,OpenContractor,OpenHousing,Opti-time,Options,Optitime,Oracle,Orchard,Outsource and outsourcing,OutSystems, PIMMS,PIMSS Data,PM,PRINCE2,Paloma,Pamwin,PanConnect,People Value,Peoplevalue,PfH,Pick,PlanForm,Planned maintenance,Plenfific,Plus,Portfolio Management System,PowerObjects,Pro,Pro-Points,Prodo,Progress,Promaster,Propoints,Proval,Providers,Pyramid, QL,QuantSpark,Qube,QLX,Qlikview,QueryView,Queryview reporting,Quiss, RM865,ROCC,RPs,RSL,Rave,ReAct,Reality,RedkiteCRM,Red Olive,Registered,Registered Social,Rent 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Housing,Ukhousing,UniClass Enterprise,Unidata,United Kingdom,Universal,Universalcredit,Universe,Unrest, Valueworks,Van Stock,Vantage,Vantage Sentinel,Version,Virtualisation,Visualmetrics,Voice,Voice and data,Voluntas, Wales,Welsh,Wheatley,Windows Server,Workflow and,Work Hub,Works Connect, XML,Xen App,XenApp,Xmbrace, ...
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Tuesday, 23 March 2021

Bring It Back

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

There is definitely light at the end of the Covid19 Coronavirus tunnel in the UK. Of that, there is no doubt, the NHS vaccine rollout is moving apace and notwithstanding vaccine passports to get to the bar of my local fave CAMRA real ale watering hole, we might be entering a ‘newer normal’.

Many of us have been working from home, Teams, Zoom, Hangouts, Bluejeans (WTF?) all mastered and significant ICT infrastructure put into play. Having completed 12 years of transformation in just about 12 months, what will the newer normal probably look like?

Well, its unlikely to look like the old normal, in my humble opinion. This is backed up by some of the academics in this area and some of the surveys made on the effect, pros and cons of working from home (WFH) on us all.

It has of course for many in management, put a focus on how work we all do is measured. We used to very much have an ‘input based view’ and I know a few places where at the start of 2020, this still was the norm. IE if bottoms are on seats between core hours, the ‘input’ is there, so most likely the work is being done. Well, as we all know, there are productive bottoms and sometimes lazy bums…

Output based management, in contrast focuses on the work that gets completed. The more switched on organisations have used this to great effect, where homeworkers clear x days work, in x days, regardless of when they do so, time of day they do so, or if they are performing it in a onesie. Frankly, if its being done, we are fulfilling our contract of employment, are we not.

Not having to get dressed or washed so often is having a terrible effect on deodorant sales, the arse of which has dropped out.  How long are your roll-ons now lasting?

Taking a commute out of most working days, saves us an hour or more. Most of us can be productive straight after that first early morning latte or that camomile tea, avoiding the traffic jams, road rage or wasted time. The boffins estimate this represents a 6%+ pay rise effectively and we seem to like it. Personally when I chat with work colleagues, we all agree we have a little new appreciation for the commute. 25% of it was useful thinking and composure time.  We all agree we would lose the remaining 75% natch!

Even with Zoom/Teams its not the same from home as being in the office space, collaborating and being creative. Many employers are realising this and prefer when staff are in ‘actual’ office days, more collaborative, new ideas work and events, get more from staff. Surveys seem to suggest that 2-3 days in the office may be the norm going forward, although clearly personal preferences will vary.

Younger staff, over half of university graduates, or employees with cramped or limited space at home clearly prefer a race back to office working. Parents with families, quite often the opposite. In China, it has been found that staff not spending enough time in the office are at a disadvantage for promotion and advancement. Being less visible is a disadvantage, even when output based management is in play. Just one aspect that HR perhaps need to be aware of, for the ‘newer normal’.

On the HR front clearly for the newer normal, there might have to be consideration made for staff who can no longer be offered working from home. Should we consider compensating those? Also, will our health and safety policy need to be extended to our homes when working there?

Who would have thought that ICT would perhaps be the least of our concerns?

Related Post: Big or small, and I have worked with providers with 34 up to 30,000 homes, its complex


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Bring It Back - McAlmont & ButlerBring It Back - McAlmont & Butler.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

Could we help you or your organisation? Our contact details are here , get in touch we will be pleased to chat about your problems and help with your organisation issues.


File Under: #HomesForBritain,#HousingDAY,#InternetOfTenants,#Shout,#UKHousing, 07854655009, 1st Touch,1stTouch,360,365Agile,3squared,4Js, ACL,ALMO,AMS,AX,Aareon,Abritas,Academy,Accuserv,Accuserve,Active Housing,ActiveH,ActiveHousing,Acutence,Advanced,Agile,Agile365,AirWatch,Alfresco,Alignment,Allpay,Amazon Web Services,Anite,Apex,App,ArchHouse,Archouse,Asprey e-state pro,Asset Management,Associates,Aurora,Average IT Costs,AWI SX Integration Toolkit,AWS, BI,BO,BPR,BancTec,BigChange,Blockwise,BluTek,Bluebox,Blueprint,Browser Applications,Business Objects,Business Planning,Business Process Review,Business social networking, CACI,Capita One Housing,CBL,CCS IT Keystone CCSIT,CEDRM,CHICS,CHR,CIH,CMS,COA,CORE,CPL,CRM,CRM2013,CRS,CTI,CTX,Cadcorp,Capita,CapitaOne,Capita One,Capital Management,Cashflow,Castle,Castleton,Castleton Technology,Cedar Open Accounts,Cerrus,Change,Charges,Chartered Institute Of Housing,Cheaper Housing IT,Chics, Citrix,Civica,Civica CTX,Civica Cx,Civica Genero,Civica Saffron,Clearview,Clik,Cloud Dialogs,CloudDialogs,Coactiva,Codeman,Comino,Commontime,Community Reward Services,Company,Competitive Dialogue process,Component Accounting,Consilium,Consolidation, Consultancy,Consultant,Consultants,Contact Manager,Context,Contractor Systems,CorVu,Cost Reductions,Covalent,Crystal Reports,Customer Relationship Management,Cx, DRS,Deeplake,Designer Software,Development Systems,Director,Document,Documotive,Docuware,Dynamic AI,DynamicAI,Dynamics 365,D365,Dynamics365, ECMK,EDM,EDRMS,ERP,ESRI,Elmhurst,Enghouse Interactive,England,English,EnterpriseBI,Estatecraft,Etive,Exhibition,Exponential-e, Facebook,Factorwise,Field Service management,Finance,Financial Systems,Financials,Footprint,Forms,Freezes,Fusion,Firmstep, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,Goss Interactive,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex,Granicus,GOSS HFI (Housing Financials interface),HG,HRA,Hardware,Hitachi Systems,Hitex,HomeMaster,Hometeam,HouSys,House,Housemark,Housemark survey,Housing,Housing Contact,Housing Group,Housing Insight,Housing Management,Housing Management Consultant,Housing Partners,Housing Portfolio Management System,Hub Asset Management,Homeswapper,Housing jigsaw, Housing Support Pro,HousingIT,HousingSupportPro,HyperOptic, IMS,IT,IT Budget,IT Training,ITIL,Impact Response,In,In4,IEG4,In4Systems Promaster,InfoBoss,InHouse,InMotion,InMotion2015,InMotion2016,InfoBoss,Infoflow,Information,Information Technology,Information@Work components,Informix,Innovation, Informetis,Inphase,Inside Housing,Insight,Internet Portal,Internetalia,Invu,Ireland,Irish,itLab, Keyfax,Keylogic,Keypera,Keystone,Kirona,Kypera, Landlord,Ledgers,Linkedin,Liquid,Locality,Localz,Liberty, M3,MAVIS,MD,MDM,MI,MIS,MIS-AMS,MISCS,MRI,MS Dynamics,MRI,MS Dynamics CRM2011,Microsoft365,microsoft 365,MWL,Management,Management Server,Manifest,Measuring,Mebus,Microsoft Dynamics 365,Microsoft dynamics GP 2013,Miracle,MobileIron,Mobysoft,Monopoly board images and pictures,Montal,Mr Void,MriEngage,MrVoid,MRI Socialhousing,MRISocialhousing, NDL,NINTEX,NINTEX workflow,NPS,NPS ASSIST,NPS Housing,NPS Job Manager Mobile,NROSH,Natural,Neighbourhoods and Communities,Nintexworkflow,Northgate,Northgate Codeman,Northgate Public Services,Notice,Netcall,Netcall Liberty,NEC Software Solutions OA,OGC Buying Solutions,OJEU Limits,ORS,Ohms,OmFax,Omniledger,One,OneAdvanced,OneServe,Open source,OpenContractor,OpenHousing,Opti-time,Options,Optitime,Oracle,Orchard,Outsource and outsourcing,OutSystems, PIMMS,PIMSS Data,PM,PRINCE2,Paloma,Pamwin,PanConnect,People Value,Peoplevalue,PfH,Pick,PlanForm,Planned maintenance,Plenfific,Plus,Portfolio Management System,PowerObjects,Pro,Pro-Points,Prodo,Progress,Promaster,Propoints,Proval,Providers,Pyramid, QL,QuantSpark,Qube,QLX,Qlikview,QueryView,Queryview reporting,Quiss, RM865,ROCC,RPs,RSL,Rave,ReAct,Reality,RedkiteCRM,Red Olive,Registered,Registered Social,Rent Increase,RentSense,RentSenseLite,Repairfinder,Reporting,Reports,RobotAutomation,Rocket, Salesforce,Salesforce.Org,SAP,SASSHA,SDM,SHBVN,SM,SOTI,SP,SQL,SQL Open Housing,SQL Reporting,SQL Server,Saffron,Safron,Saturn,Scenario,Scotland,Scots,Scottish,Scout,Sequoa,Serengeti,Serros,Server,Service,Services,Servitor,Sharepoint,Sim,SimPro, Simdel,Simdell,Slash and Burn,Social Housing ICT,Social Housing Software Applications,Social Media,Software,Software solutions,Spotlight Service,Spotlightservice,Star rating,Stores and Stock,Strategic,SunAccounts,Sunguard,Surveys,Streetwise, Swordfish,Sx3,Symatrix Human,System alignment,Systems,Systemwise, T-Files,TEAMS,TED,TFiles,TP Tracker,TSG,Tagish Casework,Tagra,Task,TAIM,Technologies (India) PVT Limited,Telecetera,Template,Terminal Services,That,Three Star,Today,Tony Smith,Tony Smith That Housing IT Guy,TonySmith that housing IT,TonySmithHou,TonySmithHousing, ,TonySmithHousingITguy,Total,Total Mobile,Totalmobile,Trace,Tribal,Twitter, U2,UC,UK,UK Housing,Ukhousing,UniClass Enterprise,Unidata,United Kingdom,Universal,Universalcredit,Universe,Unrest, Valueworks,Van Stock,Vantage,Vantage Sentinel,Version,Virtualisation,Visualmetrics,Voice,Voice and data,Voluntas, Wales,Welsh,Wheatley,Windows Server,Workflow and,Work Hub,Works Connect, XML,Xen App,XenApp,Xmbrace, ...
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Wednesday, 17 March 2021

White Paper Lines

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

As anyone in the Social Housing sector interested in asset management or compliance will tell you, the Grenfell Enquiry has provided essential insights, this last year. 

Coupled with the social housing white paper strapline of ‘Keeping residents in social housing safe, listened to, living in good quality homes, and having access to redress when things go wrong’, there are more pressure on Asset Management Teams, than ever before.

In fairness, a lot of asset management teams have been on top of this for some years, albeit with fragmented solutions and system tools available. Spreadsheets or ‘best of breed’ applications were the traditional go-to places to store data. Loose or (frankly in some cases) pitiful integration, often helped make some asset teams quite siloed and detached from the rest of the housing operations.

Some of the better asset management solutions are now getting somewhat long in the tooth, or needing substantial investment to remove Silverlight too, which is unsupported from this year by Microsoft. Much better integration with where the rest of the housing solutions sit, plus a window into self-service, is necessary to engage openly with residents, so they know their RSL/RP has procedures in place and they have evidence they are being followed to keep them safe in their homes. 

Grenfell has put an essential spotlight on FRA’s (Fire Risk Assessments) and resident trust in other compliance. Another area where a separate Asbestos, Fire Risk or Gas Servicing solution could represent a cats cradle of more data silos, some in a browser, others only accessible in the office. Increasingly, to better service and support residents, more or all of this asset data needs to be in a single repository. Where a wide selection of Housing Management system modules are in use with a decent EDRMS, if the quality of asset/compliance offerings is good, it makes sense to consolidate there. Potentially it can be cheaper too, when annual licence & support costs are considered.

In many sites, I think its management inertia that has traditionally put the brakes on considering sorting this out. One site I do work for, every other year, we do an asset reconciliation. There is one figure there from the Fixed Assets ledger, one from HMS, one from the DLO system, one from Assets and one from a compliance team. All differ and the one we go with every time is a managers Excel spreadsheet. On concluding the gathering of the figure each time, I remind them that all of this could be integrated and consolidated in a project of 3-9 months, providing additional efficiencies. Without talking out of turn, I would be adding more value as Critical Friend helping them get it done, than counting the disparate parts every 24 months. As the above demonstrates, many organisations keep old survey data, which is little or no value.

What might be referred to as ‘The Golden Thread’ is often missing from many organisations and their asset strategies. In the tragic event of a serious incident occurring in a block or other asset, how long will it take to bring evidence together, of previous good management? Data commonly can be so dispersed/siloed, it takes days or weeks to determine chronologies or where safety and compliance was at in that location. If it takes longer than a couple of hours, I would say your systems are not adequately supporting this aspect.

In the last few months I have done a lot of work with some Northgate HMS sites, who now have the opportunity to close the loop and bring all the separate elements into a single browser presented and cloud ready solution. Following on from Hackitt, more organisations are discovering the buck stops at them. Even where good practice is in place, there is seldom the conduit in disparate solutions and data stores, to share with residents that accountability and responsibility that is being exercised.

The joined up approach that can be implemented within Northgate Housing, creates many new efficiencies. We have all encountered £2,700 being spent on preparing an essential void and within eighteen months, the assets team rip it out as part of their pre-planned programme and replace it again.

Using standard facilities in the main platform, all the good stuff around customer communications can be coordinated. There’s nothing worse than the asset management solution being a week behind the HMS data, a nightmare for Housing GDPR, but also opportunities for putting contractors and staff in danger. A visit in twos warning should not take up to a week, to be utilised properly within the asset management team. Scheduling and mobile all come into this picture too.

Visualised risks delivered by dashboard

 Visualised risks delivered by dashboard

Being properly plugged into the main HMS, also means that a 360 degrees CRM view, can see asset management activity too. So often the asset silo is a blind spot, which causes frustration for all. Residents frequently chasing queries twice or more and generally too many hand-offs and hand-overs. Done properly, sharing necessary asset and compliance data and certificates in self-service, is a matter of 30 minutes of less than taxing configuration. Its like providing ‘the golden thread’ as a bi-product.

Fire Risk and follow up management

 Fire Risk and follow up management

Being able to connect all your compliance contractors, into a flexible integration platform is another advantage, that cuts out so much of the admin usually required. Consuming data, not PDF’s being rekeyed, is the way forward. One other aspect of integration is plugging into IOT and home automation to protect our assets. Its great to see Northgate customers, such as Wolverhampton Homes prove how problems such as damp can be handled, as well as helping residents better manage energy bills and usage, potentially tackling fuel poverty too.

Northgate NPS Internet Of Things (IOT) monitoring dashboardInternet Of Things (IOT) monitoring dashboard

Keeping all this data in sync and stored in the same database, enables better cross module analysis, such as viability. Say goodbye to importing data once a year to process viability, once set up fill your boots three times a day if you feel like it.

Water Risk management dashboard

Water Risk management dashboard


The point I am making here is that consolidating your data makes life easier, with decent visualisation tools, in addition to making bankable savings. At a time when quite a few asset management solutions are being rewritten, look again at your housing management system. There may be a second option there, like with my examples here with Northgate, that will take you to a better place.

All power to Northgate taking advantage of all the NEC investment from Japan, now rebranding as ‘NEC Software Solutions’, bringing a clear integrated, ready to go, Assets alternative offering. Others would do well to consider a similar approach. 

Read more about 'Smart, Safe and Sustainable Social Housing Solutions' on the NPS site at https://northgateps.com/software-solutions/housing-management-solution/

Related Post: UAT - Take it serious and take control of it


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

White Lines - Grandmaster Flash & Melle MelWhite Lines - Grandmaster Flash & Melle Mel.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

Could we help you or your organisation? Our contact details are here , get in touch we will be pleased to chat about your problems and help with your organisation issues.


File Under: #HomesForBritain,#HousingDAY,#InternetOfTenants,#Shout,#UKHousing, 07854655009, 1st Touch,1stTouch,360,365Agile,3squared,4Js, ACL,ALMO,AMS,AX,Aareon,Abritas,Academy,Accuserv,Accuserve,Active Housing,ActiveH,ActiveHousing,Acutence,Advanced,Agile,Agile365,AirWatch,Alfresco,Alignment,Allpay,Amazon Web Services,Anite,Apex,App,ArchHouse,Archouse,Asprey e-state pro,Asset Management,Associates,Aurora,Average IT Costs,AWI SX Integration Toolkit,AWS, BI,BO,BPR,BancTec,BigChange,Blockwise,BluTek,Bluebox,Blueprint,Browser Applications,Business Objects,Business Planning,Business Process Review,Business social networking, CACI,Capita One Housing,CBL,CCS IT Keystone CCSIT,CEDRM,CHICS,CHR,CIH,CMS,COA,CORE,CPL,CRM,CRM2013,CRS,CTI,CTX,Cadcorp,Capita,CapitaOne,Capita One,Capital Management,Cashflow,Castle,Castleton,Castleton Technology,Cedar Open Accounts,Cerrus,Change,Charges,Chartered Institute Of Housing,Cheaper Housing IT,Chics, Citrix,Civica,Civica CTX,Civica Cx,Civica Genero,Civica Saffron,Clearview,Clik,Cloud Dialogs,CloudDialogs,Coactiva,Codeman,Comino,Commontime,Community Reward Services,Company,Competitive Dialogue process,Component Accounting,Consilium,Consolidation, Consultancy,Consultant,Consultants,Contact Manager,Context,Contractor Systems,CorVu,Cost Reductions,Covalent,Crystal Reports,Customer Relationship Management,Cx, DRS,Deeplake,Designer Software,Development Systems,Director,Document,Documotive,Docuware,Dynamic AI,DynamicAI,Dynamics 365,D365,Dynamics365, ECMK,EDM,EDRMS,ERP,ESRI,Elmhurst,Enghouse Interactive,England,English,EnterpriseBI,Estatecraft,Etive,Exhibition,Exponential-e, Facebook,Factorwise,Field Service management,Finance,Financial Systems,Financials,Footprint,Forms,Freezes,Fusion,Firmstep, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,Goss Interactive,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex,Granicus,GOSS HFI (Housing Financials interface),HG,HRA,Hardware,Hitachi Systems,Hitex,HomeMaster,Hometeam,HouSys,House,Housemark,Housemark survey,Housing,Housing Contact,Housing Group,Housing Insight,Housing Management,Housing Management Consultant,Housing Partners,Housing Portfolio Management System,Hub Asset Management,Homeswapper,Housing jigsaw, Housing Support Pro,HousingIT,HousingSupportPro,HyperOptic, IMS,IT,IT Budget,IT Training,ITIL,Impact Response,In,In4,IEG4,In4Systems Promaster,InfoBoss,InHouse,InMotion,InMotion2015,InMotion2016,InfoBoss,Infoflow,Information,Information Technology,Information@Work components,Informix,Innovation, Informetis,Inphase,Inside Housing,Insight,Internet Portal,Internetalia,Invu,Ireland,Irish,itLab, Keyfax,Keylogic,Keypera,Keystone,Kirona,Kypera, Landlord,Ledgers,Linkedin,Liquid,Locality,Localz,Liberty, M3,MAVIS,MD,MDM,MI,MIS,MIS-AMS,MISCS,MRI,MS Dynamics,MRI,MS Dynamics CRM2011,Microsoft365,microsoft 365,MWL,Management,Management Server,Manifest,Measuring,Mebus,Microsoft Dynamics 365,Microsoft dynamics GP 2013,Miracle,MobileIron,Mobysoft,Monopoly board images and pictures,Montal,Mr Void,MriEngage,MrVoid,MRI Socialhousing,MRISocialhousing, NDL,NINTEX,NINTEX workflow,NPS,NPS ASSIST,NPS Housing,NPS Job Manager Mobile,NROSH,Natural,Neighbourhoods and Communities,Nintexworkflow,Northgate,Northgate Codeman,Northgate Public Services,Notice,Netcall,Netcall Liberty,NEC Software Solutions OA,OGC Buying Solutions,OJEU Limits,ORS,Ohms,OmFax,Omniledger,One,OneAdvanced,OneServe,Open source,OpenContractor,OpenHousing,Opti-time,Options,Optitime,Oracle,Orchard,Outsource and outsourcing,OutSystems, PIMMS,PIMSS Data,PM,PRINCE2,Paloma,Pamwin,PanConnect,People Value,Peoplevalue,PfH,Pick,PlanForm,Planned maintenance,Plenfific,Plus,Portfolio Management System,PowerObjects,Pro,Pro-Points,Prodo,Progress,Promaster,Propoints,Proval,Providers,Pyramid, QL,QuantSpark,Qube,QLX,Qlikview,QueryView,Queryview reporting,Quiss, RM865,ROCC,RPs,RSL,Rave,ReAct,Reality,RedkiteCRM,Red Olive,Registered,Registered Social,Rent Increase,RentSense,RentSenseLite,Repairfinder,Reporting,Reports,RobotAutomation,Rocket, Salesforce,Salesforce.Org,SAP,SASSHA,SDM,SHBVN,SM,SOTI,SP,SQL,SQL Open Housing,SQL Reporting,SQL Server,Saffron,Safron,Saturn,Scenario,Scotland,Scots,Scottish,Scout,Sequoa,Serengeti,Serros,Server,Service,Services,Servitor,Sharepoint,Sim,SimPro, Simdel,Simdell,Slash and Burn,Social Housing ICT,Social Housing Software Applications,Social Media,Software,Software solutions,Spotlight Service,Spotlightservice,Star rating,Stores and Stock,Strategic,SunAccounts,Sunguard,Surveys,Streetwise, Swordfish,Sx3,Symatrix Human,System alignment,Systems,Systemwise, T-Files,TEAMS,TED,TFiles,TP Tracker,TSG,Tagish Casework,Tagra,Task,TAIM,Technologies (India) PVT Limited,Telecetera,Template,Terminal Services,That,Three Star,Today,Tony Smith,Tony Smith That Housing IT Guy,TonySmith that housing IT,TonySmithHou,TonySmithHousing, ,TonySmithHousingITguy,Total,Total Mobile,Totalmobile,Trace,Tribal,Twitter, U2,UC,UK,UK Housing,Ukhousing,UniClass Enterprise,Unidata,United Kingdom,Universal,Universalcredit,Universe,Unrest, Valueworks,Van Stock,Vantage,Vantage Sentinel,Version,Virtualisation,Visualmetrics,Voice,Voice and data,Voluntas, Wales,Welsh,Wheatley,Windows Server,Workflow and,Work Hub,Works Connect, XML,Xen App,XenApp,Xmbrace, ...
. . . . . . . . . . . .






Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Pioneering Systems

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

As a chap (some cheeky rascals might suggest might be) ‘getting on a bit’, but not managing to be in the first five months of the UK vaccine rollout, I was pleased this week to receive my call up letter to book my jab. Yay!

Despite all that is out there to read by the great, the learned and the good on Fakebook, Twatter etc, I have not been convinced to become an anti-vaxer, or rely on daily vitamin D supplements, or anything like that. If you have, good luck with that.

The greatest thing about it, was that I managed to book my two local jab appointments using self-service within about 90 seconds, in timed appointments. Friction free, the desired style of self-service.

Ninety seconds is where I think we need to aim in self-service for housing, in successfully logging a new repair and setting an appointment. If your self-service for tenants cannot cut it in under 90 seconds, including a fixed appointment, then & there, you do need to take a serious look at yourself and processes. Maybe your self-service isn't up to date. If so, you are again not supporting residents well.

With all the bad news around Covid19 and our governments slow and ad-hoc poor management of it, this is a rare triumph I think. Note that vaccine rollout is an NHS, not a government achievement, although that clearly does not prevent the latter doing all they can to garner credit for that success currently.

So much of what has gone wrong with Covid19 in the UK in the last year, is related to contracts being awarded to big outfits and consultancies, such as EY, Serco and other usual suspects. Often these companies have no specialist expertise to draw on and just recruit webs of sub-contractors, each taking a slice of the revenue.

Having worked in healthcare clinician and GP appointment solutions, I understand the difference that small providers with good specialisms can provide. The UK Covid19 vaccination booking system has been created and rolled out in record time by a solutions provider called ‘System C’. NIMS (National Immunisation Management Service) is the backbone of the successful rollout.

British company, Systems C Healthcare, deserve credit for making a fantastic job of this, really showing what relatively smaller solution providers, are capable of delivering. This is in contrast to a decade of some massive public sector ICT failures from BT, Accenture and Fujitsu. How refreshing to see a proven healthcare IT provider delivering quality software that works for the 20 million or so people jabbed so far, rather than monoliths (sometimes with friends in government), bidding for huge contracts, just making overblown promises and rarely being held to account.

Thank goodness, in contrast to a failed Track & Trace money pit, still seemingly on Excel 2003, we appear to have maybe dodged a bullet there

Read more on NIMS at https://www.systemc.com/solutions/immunisation-child-health/nims/

Related Post: Avoid being live and dangerous - making go-lives go better


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

The Maccabees - Pioneering SystemsThe Maccabees - Pioneering Systems.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

Could we help you or your organisation? Our contact details are here , get in touch we will be pleased to chat about your problems and help with your organisation issues.


File Under: #HomesForBritain,#HousingDAY,#InternetOfTenants,#Shout,#UKHousing, 07854655009, 1st Touch,1stTouch,360,365Agile,3squared,4Js, ACL,ALMO,AMS,AX,Aareon,Abritas,Academy,Accuserv,Accuserve,Active Housing,ActiveH,ActiveHousing,Acutence,Advanced,Agile,Agile365,AirWatch,Alfresco,Alignment,Allpay,Amazon Web Services,Anite,Apex,App,ArchHouse,Archouse,Asprey e-state pro,Asset Management,Associates,Aurora,Average IT Costs,AWI SX Integration Toolkit,AWS, BI,BO,BPR,BancTec,BigChange,Blockwise,BluTek,Bluebox,Blueprint,Browser Applications,Business Objects,Business Planning,Business Process Review,Business social networking, CACI,Capita One Housing,CBL,CCS IT Keystone CCSIT,CEDRM,CHICS,CHR,CIH,CMS,COA,CORE,CPL,CRM,CRM2013,CRS,CTI,CTX,Cadcorp,Capita,CapitaOne,Capita One,Capital Management,Cashflow,Castle,Castleton,Castleton Technology,Cedar Open Accounts,Cerrus,Change,Charges,Chartered Institute Of Housing,Cheaper Housing IT,Chics, Citrix,Civica,Civica CTX,Civica Cx,Civica Genero,Civica Saffron,Clearview,Clik,Cloud Dialogs,CloudDialogs,Coactiva,Codeman,Comino,Commontime,Community Reward Services,Company,Competitive Dialogue process,Component Accounting,Consilium,Consolidation, Consultancy,Consultant,Consultants,Contact Manager,Context,Contractor Systems,CorVu,Cost Reductions,Covalent,Crystal Reports,Customer Relationship Management,Cx, DRS,Deeplake,Designer Software,Development Systems,Director,Document,Documotive,Docuware,Dynamic AI,DynamicAI,Dynamics 365,D365,Dynamics365, ECMK,EDM,EDRMS,ERP,ESRI,Elmhurst,Enghouse Interactive,England,English,EnterpriseBI,Estatecraft,Etive,Exhibition,Exponential-e, Facebook,Factorwise,Field Service management,Finance,Financial Systems,Financials,Footprint,Forms,Freezes,Fusion,Firmstep, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,Goss Interactive,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex,Granicus,GOSS HFI (Housing Financials interface),HG,HRA,Hardware,Hitachi Systems,Hitex,HomeMaster,Hometeam,HouSys,House,Housemark,Housemark survey,Housing,Housing Contact,Housing Group,Housing Insight,Housing Management,Housing Management Consultant,Housing Partners,Housing Portfolio Management System,Hub Asset Management,Homeswapper,Housing jigsaw, Housing Support Pro,HousingIT,HousingSupportPro,HyperOptic, IMS,IT,IT Budget,IT Training,ITIL,Impact Response,In,In4,IEG4,In4Systems Promaster,InfoBoss,InHouse,InMotion,InMotion2015,InMotion2016,InfoBoss,Infoflow,Information,Information Technology,Information@Work components,Informix,Innovation, Informetis,Inphase,Inside Housing,Insight,Internet Portal,Internetalia,Invu,Ireland,Irish,itLab, Keyfax,Keylogic,Keypera,Keystone,Kirona,Kypera, Landlord,Ledgers,Linkedin,Liquid,Locality,Localz,Liberty, M3,MAVIS,MD,MDM,MI,MIS,MIS-AMS,MISCS,MRI,MS Dynamics,MRI,MS Dynamics CRM2011,Microsoft365,microsoft 365,MWL,Management,Management Server,Manifest,Measuring,Mebus,Microsoft Dynamics 365,Microsoft dynamics GP 2013,Miracle,MobileIron,Mobysoft,Monopoly board images and pictures,Montal,Mr Void,MriEngage,MrVoid,MRI Socialhousing,MRISocialhousing, NDL,NINTEX,NINTEX workflow,NPS,NPS ASSIST,NPS Housing,NPS Job Manager Mobile,NROSH,Natural,Neighbourhoods and Communities,Nintexworkflow,Northgate,Northgate Codeman,Northgate Public Services,Notice,Netcall,Netcall Liberty, OA,OGC Buying Solutions,OJEU Limits,ORS,Ohms,OmFax,Omniledger,One,OneAdvanced,OneServe,Open source,OpenContractor,OpenHousing,Opti-time,Options,Optitime,Oracle,Orchard,Outsource and outsourcing,OutSystems, PIMMS,PIMSS Data,PM,PRINCE2,Paloma,Pamwin,PanConnect,People Value,Peoplevalue,PfH,Pick,PlanForm,Planned maintenance,Plenfific,Plus,Portfolio Management System,PowerObjects,Pro,Pro-Points,Prodo,Progress,Promaster,Propoints,Proval,Providers,Pyramid, QL,QuantSpark,Qube,QLX,Qlikview,QueryView,Queryview reporting,Quiss, RM865,ROCC,RPs,RSL,Rave,ReAct,Reality,RedkiteCRM,Red Olive,Registered,Registered Social,Rent Increase,RentSense,RentSenseLite,Repairfinder,Reporting,Reports,RobotAutomation,Rocket, Salesforce,Salesforce.Org,SAP,SASSHA,SDM,SHBVN,SM,SOTI,SP,SQL,SQL Open Housing,SQL Reporting,SQL Server,Saffron,Safron,Saturn,Scenario,Scotland,Scots,Scottish,Scout,Sequoa,Serengeti,Serros,Server,Service,Services,Servitor,Sharepoint,Sim,SimPro, Simdel,Simdell,Slash and Burn,Social Housing ICT,Social Housing Software Applications,Social Media,Software,Software solutions,Spotlight Service,Spotlightservice,Star rating,Stores and Stock,Strategic,SunAccounts,Sunguard,Surveys,Streetwise, Swordfish,Sx3,Symatrix Human,System alignment,Systems,Systemwise, T-Files,TEAMS,TED,TFiles,TP Tracker,TSG,Tagish Casework,Tagra,Task,TAIM,Technologies (India) PVT Limited,Telecetera,Template,Terminal Services,That,Three Star,Today,Tony Smith,Tony Smith That Housing IT Guy,TonySmith that housing IT,TonySmithHou,TonySmithHousing, ,TonySmithHousingITguy,Total,Total Mobile,Totalmobile,Trace,Tribal,Twitter, U2,UC,UK,UK Housing,Ukhousing,UniClass Enterprise,Unidata,United Kingdom,Universal,Universalcredit,Universe,Unrest, Valueworks,Van Stock,Vantage,Vantage Sentinel,Version,Virtualisation,Visualmetrics,Voice,Voice and data,Voluntas, Wales,Welsh,Wheatley,Windows Server,Workflow and,Work Hub,Works Connect, XML,Xen App,XenApp,Xmbrace, ...
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Alone, Jealous and Stoned

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

I'm afraid to disappoint that this post is not a summary of my pandemic lockdown condition.

Many of us are feeling alone and jealous of those Kiwi’s and Aussies, enjoying their BBQ’s together in the sun, with minimal Coronavirus restrictions. You may too be enjoying a few more drugs of choice, whether that might be wine, the odd tipple or something tending more to the medicinal. Hopefully we are keeping our mental state stable and checking in on our friends & neighbours to ensure they are ok.

My subject in this post is more to do with the ‘alone’ than the ‘Jealous and Stoned’.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 (or just D365 as its increasingly referred to), is increasingly being sold as the modern antidote to your existing sluggish vertical supplier suppliers, you have suffered with and been overcharged from, for yonks.

Now its fair to say I have met quite a few social housing organisations, that feel that way. Possibly that they have been let down by existing supplier integrated solutions, or they have got so complex, even they at times, struggle to have consultants and implementers with broad enough skills/knowledge to get them working properly. 

Many organisations are quite middle of the road in reality and just crack on to use the horses for courses. Also, some of the ineffective solutions out there, can quite easily be the client, not the suppliers fault. Not many are happy if they are hiring me to point that out, but always honesty is the best policy, I find.

Microsoft resellers are targeting the sector pretty actively however and notching up some impressive wins. Whether all organisations totally understand what they are buying into at the outset is doubtful, although that’s perhaps a subject for another post later in the year.

Any D365 reseller worth his salt will always sell it on its CRM capabilities, a true thing of beauty. It should be, it’s a CRM platform after all! No one selling D365 will be banging on about its Rent Accounting capabilities. I have on occasion seen that questioned and occasionally MS Dynamics gets mentioned in passing. As anyone in socialhousing knows, a rent account is a few levels more sophisticated than a Sales Ledger Account. The other suggestion is often, “well just keep your rents  in your old HMS”. Takes me back to the 80’s, what did they say, “Shampoo and Conditioner”?

I thought the sales pitch was that “Your existing supplier is not giving you what you want, that’s why you need to swap to this”? Why then do we need to keep paying for a whole HMS, use just a little bit of it and have D365 over the top, doing its best to hide it from us?

For sites looking to minimise or remove the old HMS, then possibly it’s a hard learned lesson that you will still need a separate rent accounting and in some cases a repairs ordering module. This is becoming a new emerging requirement. Just getting those, relatively self-contained, with suitable API’s / integration, to connect seamlessly to D365, Salesforce, Netcall, Firmstep, IEG4 or whatever.

In work I have done recently, that’s not as easy a task as one might expect. Existing system options can come with all that ‘bloat’ of a big HMS platform, all those config days needed and perhaps getting it fully in the cloud (as most sites desire these days) can be pricy, as the off the shelf set up reflects taking a full HMS, not just one or two modules.

I am not criticising suppliers for this, its how they have been tooled up for the last decade. The future is being sold as SaaS, pay for what you use. It does need a re-think on the part of some suppliers, to compete at a sensible price point for CRM customers.

No-doubt we will be seeing more of this requirement and suppliers need to be aware of how they can offer very good product, that can be easily slotted into CRM quickly and at reasonable pricing. I for one would like to see more suppliers targeting this growing market, so providing more choice and range for RSL’s of from just 1,000 units to over 50,000.     

Clearly, those suppliers quick out of the blocks, have much to gain here.

Related Post: Have you and your team sussed it yet? Transformation is a marathon, not a sprint


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

The Secret Machines - Alone, Jealous, and StonedThe Secret Machines - Alone, Jealous, and Stoned.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


Access a quick list of our Social Housing ICT blog posts here

Could we help you or your organisation? Our contact details are here , get in touch we will be pleased to chat about your problems and help with your organisation issues.


File Under: #HomesForBritain,#HousingDAY,#InternetOfTenants,#Shout,#UKHousing, 07854655009, 1st Touch,1stTouch,360,365Agile,3squared,4Js, ACL,ALMO,AMS,AX,Aareon,Abritas,Academy,Accuserv,Accuserve,Active Housing,ActiveH,ActiveHousing,Acutence,Advanced,Agile,Agile365,AirWatch,Alfresco,Alignment,Allpay,Amazon Web Services,Anite,Apex,App,ArchHouse,Archouse,Asprey e-state pro,Asset Management,Associates,Aurora,Average IT Costs,AWI SX Integration Toolkit,AWS, BI,BO,BPR,BancTec,BigChange,Blockwise,BluTek,Bluebox,Blueprint,Browser Applications,Business Objects,Business Planning,Business Process Review,Business social networking, CACI,Capita One Housing,CBL,CCS IT Keystone CCSIT,CEDRM,CHICS,CHR,CIH,CMS,COA,CORE,CPL,CRM,CRM2013,CRS,CTI,CTX,Cadcorp,Capita,CapitaOne,Capita One,Capital Management,Cashflow,Castle,Castleton,Castleton Technology,Cedar Open Accounts,Cerrus,Change,Charges,Chartered Institute Of Housing,Cheaper Housing IT,Chics, Citrix,Civica,Civica CTX,Civica Cx,Civica Genero,Civica Saffron,Clearview,Clik,Cloud Dialogs,CloudDialogs,Coactiva,Codeman,Comino,Commontime,Community Reward Services,Company,Competitive Dialogue process,Component Accounting,Consilium,Consolidation, Consultancy,Consultant,Consultants,Contact Manager,Context,Contractor Systems,CorVu,Cost Reductions,Covalent,Crystal Reports,Customer Relationship Management,Cx, DRS,Deeplake,Designer Software,Development Systems,Director,Document,Documotive,Docuware,Dynamic AI,DynamicAI,Dynamics 365,D365,Dynamics365, ECMK,EDM,EDRMS,ERP,ESRI,Elmhurst,Enghouse Interactive,England,English,EnterpriseBI,Estatecraft,Etive,Exhibition,Exponential-e, Facebook,Factorwise,Field Service management,Finance,Financial Systems,Financials,Footprint,Forms,Freezes,Fusion,Firmstep, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,Goss Interactive,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex,Granicus,GOSS HFI (Housing Financials interface),HG,HRA,Hardware,Hitachi Systems,Hitex,HomeMaster,Hometeam,HouSys,House,Housemark,Housemark survey,Housing,Housing Contact,Housing Group,Housing Insight,Housing Management,Housing Management Consultant,Housing Partners,Housing Portfolio Management System,Hub Asset Management,Homeswapper,Housing jigsaw, Housing Support Pro,HousingIT,HousingSupportPro,HyperOptic, IMS,IT,IT Budget,IT Training,ITIL,Impact Response,In,In4,IEG4,In4Systems Promaster,InfoBoss,InHouse,InMotion,InMotion2015,InMotion2016,InfoBoss,Infoflow,Information,Information Technology,Information@Work components,Informix,Innovation, Informetis,Inphase,Inside Housing,Insight,Internet Portal,Internetalia,Invu,Ireland,Irish,itLab, Keyfax,Keylogic,Keypera,Keystone,Kirona,Kypera, Landlord,Ledgers,Linkedin,Liquid,Locality,Localz,Liberty, M3,MAVIS,MD,MDM,MI,MIS,MIS-AMS,MISCS,MRI,MS Dynamics,MRI,MS Dynamics CRM2011,Microsoft365,microsoft 365,MWL,Management,Management Server,Manifest,Measuring,Mebus,Microsoft Dynamics 365,Microsoft dynamics GP 2013,Miracle,MobileIron,Mobysoft,Monopoly board images and pictures,Montal,Mr Void,MriEngage,MrVoid,MRI Socialhousing,MRISocialhousing, NDL,NINTEX,NINTEX workflow,NPS,NPS ASSIST,NPS Housing,NPS Job Manager Mobile,NROSH,Natural,Neighbourhoods and Communities,Nintexworkflow,Northgate,Northgate Codeman,Northgate Public Services,Notice,Netcall,Netcall Liberty, OA,OGC Buying Solutions,OJEU Limits,ORS,Ohms,OmFax,Omniledger,One,OneAdvanced,OneServe,Open source,OpenContractor,OpenHousing,Opti-time,Options,Optitime,Oracle,Orchard,Outsource and outsourcing,OutSystems, PIMMS,PIMSS Data,PM,PRINCE2,Paloma,Pamwin,PanConnect,People Value,Peoplevalue,PfH,Pick,PlanForm,Planned maintenance,Plenfific,Plus,Portfolio Management System,PowerObjects,Pro,Pro-Points,Prodo,Progress,Promaster,Propoints,Proval,Providers,Pyramid, QL,QuantSpark,Qube,QLX,Qlikview,QueryView,Queryview reporting,Quiss, RM865,ROCC,RPs,RSL,Rave,ReAct,Reality,RedkiteCRM,Red Olive,Registered,Registered Social,Rent Increase,RentSense,RentSenseLite,Repairfinder,Reporting,Reports,RobotAutomation,Rocket, Salesforce,Salesforce.Org,SAP,SASSHA,SDM,SHBVN,SM,SOTI,SP,SQL,SQL Open Housing,SQL Reporting,SQL Server,Saffron,Safron,Saturn,Scenario,Scotland,Scots,Scottish,Scout,Sequoa,Serengeti,Serros,Server,Service,Services,Servitor,Sharepoint,Sim,SimPro, Simdel,Simdell,Slash and Burn,Social Housing ICT,Social Housing Software Applications,Social Media,Software,Software solutions,Spotlight Service,Spotlightservice,Star rating,Stores and Stock,Strategic,SunAccounts,Sunguard,Surveys,Streetwise, Swordfish,Sx3,Symatrix Human,System alignment,Systems,Systemwise, T-Files,TEAMS,TED,TFiles,TP Tracker,TSG,Tagish Casework,Tagra,Task,TAIM,Technologies (India) PVT Limited,Telecetera,Template,Terminal Services,That,Three Star,Today,Tony Smith,Tony Smith That Housing IT Guy,TonySmith that housing IT,TonySmithHou,TonySmithHousing, ,TonySmithHousingITguy,Total,Total Mobile,Totalmobile,Trace,Tribal,Twitter, U2,UC,UK,UK Housing,Ukhousing,UniClass Enterprise,Unidata,United Kingdom,Universal,Universalcredit,Universe,Unrest, Valueworks,Van Stock,Vantage,Vantage Sentinel,Version,Virtualisation,Visualmetrics,Voice,Voice and data,Voluntas, Wales,Welsh,Wheatley,Windows Server,Workflow and,Work Hub,Works Connect, XML,Xen App,XenApp,Xmbrace, ...
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Friday, 15 January 2021

Each Time I Tell People

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here https://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy

This week I encountered in a conversation, a reference to a ‘database’, in an organisation with few specific application systems. On further investigation, (a simple, “Can you share your screen, so I can see your database”), all is revealed. What is being described is an Microsoft Excel Spreadsheet.

Now before we get fully into this post, I am not Excel-ist (or even spreadsheet-ist, if there are any Lotus SmartSuite users out there – Respect!). I am a big fan of Excel, but not for storing important data, like in a database.

I was considering just the other day, if I had £50 for every spreadsheet and each time I tell people, I had described as “not a database” or said, “stop using that spreadsheet as a database fella (he/she OBVs)”, I would have a substantial pension annuity built up by now. So many data manipulation functions have been added to Excel over a few decades, it provides a deceptive veneer. Add to that, the problem that 90% or more of spreadsheet users, have never had any formal training at all, just adds to the problem. Staff just in some cases do not understand that rows are best set up to be entities (eg each row a property, case, rent account etc, a column a particular value or field of a specific type).

Excel in the big maths scheme of things...

Many spreadsheets I see, could actually be easily transferred to Microsoft Word, with very little effort, with many people not even noticing, if a few tables were incorporated.

One big reason I hear from client staff, is that they maintain a spreadsheet because they can protect the data from the barbarians outside. In doing so, they become a silo, (although they are unlikely to twig that).

Reliance on Excel, often wastes a considerable amount of time and effort, often keeping certain staff members expert in their own silos.

My job is usually, (in the event that staff have not twigged it as yet!), is to extoll the virtues of a real database or application based on one and in most cases, transport them there as fast as possible.

So why migrate away from Excel? In contrast to Excel, databases allow users to only enter data once, as it offers the functionality to link other records together. Clearly, we might record a single asset and multiple complaints or anti-social behaviour events against it. Spreadsheets struggle with this kind of stuff.

When Excel contains more than a few hundred rows, users experience significant slowdowns. Databases utilise indexes and other means of speeding up access and reporting. Audit is generally easier too, where data can be (sometimes accidentally) lost in traditional spreadsheets. Many rows can trip up the biggest enterprises at times too!

Excel does provide sharing of a kind, although its not quite up to a proper database and often causes more problems than it actually solves. I have used Excel sharing occasionally successfully when with others scoring supplier demos, but you wouldn’t rely on running any organisation critical processes on it, believe me.

If you are reading this from a small organisation, running exclusively on Excel, you are probably overdue in giving me a call. Many small social housing providers do run on spreadsheets, many under 200 units in size and typically doubt that anyone like me would be interested in helping them organise better. In the last year, I have assisted housing providers managing 36, 160, 190 and 390 units, as well as the five to thirty thousand homes brigade. We can match suitable solutions to your needs.

If you are reading this from an organisation already with Integrated Housing Solutions and you have hundreds of spreadsheets still, perhaps you need help from a different direction. I have often helped teams with trust issues, or where additional useful and integrated functionality, can be squeezed out of existing solutions. Often the reasons for not using system modules (often already purchased and being paid for…), are sometimes tenuous. Convenience for a single team, can be over-valued beyond wider organisation integration and efficiency.  

In summary, I encounter spreadsheets usually as the rock in the road to transformation, rather than an enabler. Consider how you use spreadsheets in your organisation and consider if there should be a better way.

Related Post: Get your self-service right, or maybe come back when you can


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I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - http://uk.linkedin.com/in/tonysmiththathousingitguy Message me with any issues or queries, you would like to be explored in this blog. We generally receive a couple of suggestions each month.

Steve Gold – Each TimeSteve Gold – Each Time.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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