Saturday, 28 November 2020

Nowhere Fast

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

Where should infrastructure priorities be these days?


Most people I know are working from home these last eight months or so, due to Covid19 and the figure is over 25% I read, across the UK. Much accidental digital-shift has occurred, due to workplaces having to become quickly ‘fleet of foot’ and are unlikely to revert back exactly to the old ways, even if the various vaccines kick in soon. Home used for workplace, good or bad, will be here in some form now, I would bet, for the rest of many working lives.

Having a reasonable speed of access to the internet, supporting Teams, Zoom, Blue Jeans (WTAF? Other conference call platforms are available). is now as essential as water on tap and 240 volts in our 3 pin sockets. OpenReach have been generously funded and tasked over the years with providing the backbone to give the UK such a thing, for many years. So imagine my surprise to spot hidden in last weeks Budget statement, mention of further watering down the promise of GigaBit Broadband for all by 2025, and a drastic scaling down of central funding. Instead of £5b, there is just £1.5b (less than a third), for something as essential as this.

Read the full chapter and verse here.

Contrast this with HS2 spend of over £100b to get Joe Public, from London to Birmingham 20 minutes faster, in a likely future world where passenger numbers are more likely to fall, due to the digital shift. Would it not be worth spending the far lower £5b now to allow workers in rural Wales, Scotland, England & NI, to download large presentations 20 minutes faster, than the barely better than dial-up, many suffer right now?

I am lucky to be in a street where we have ‘Fibre To The Cab’. Generally I can see 22mbs download & 18mbs upload speeds available to me. Not blindingly fast, but pretty good for my and my families needs, unless the little fella on the xbox & ‘Er Indoors ragging the Netflix, like below😉.

Rainy Saturday Broadband Speed


I work with a variety of people in rural Wales, Scotland and Ireland. Many I know maybe live no more than 10 miles from a major conurbation, but are unable to use video on calls or suffer frequent disconnection issues. Without addressing this absence of infrastructure, how on earth will we support working digitally and the digital economy?

These two phrases, plus ‘Digital Strategy’ are actually starting to grate on me.

Everyone needs to accept that its (just) ‘work’, not ‘working digitally’
It’s not the ‘Digital Economy’, it’s (just) the ‘economy’
Organisations should not have a special ‘Digital Strategy’, its just digital elements in the bog standard ‘Strategy’.

Bricks and mortar, whether its offices, retail, hospitality etc, are not going anywhere anytime soon, but their role is changing, as we all realise the opportunities of better connectivity. Delaying or neglecting the priority of faster, more universal connectivity, however its delivered at a fair price, keeps the handbrake on our future growth and prosperity. If  any talk of ‘leveling’ up is serious, start with broadband speed and improved connectivity for all.

Related Post: How are we enjoying the working from home, New Normal?


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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 Smiths – Nowhere FastThe Smiths – Nowhere Fast.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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, ...
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Friday, 20 November 2020

Live and Dangerous

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


I was on a Teams call, a project board meeting, a few days ago, with a big site (19k home ALMO), that had just gone live, after a Big Bang implementation. It went to planned timings, enables their old HMS to be switched out saving annual maintenance as planned and was pretty much to expected budget. I have found them a fabulous site to work with, over a couple of years.

I have been involved with this project right from initial look at the pre-market, procurement, contract finalisation and critical friend during the boots on the ground phase. We have had some challenges, which were all overcome, with the internal project and management team working hard with the system supplier, who also resourced everything well.

As with any site doing a Big Bang (and I have experience of 20 or more), there is always doubt, is this the right time, should we test a bit more etc, etc. At some point though, when the red line & high issues on the RAID log have been knocked on the head, someone has to bite the bullet and go for it. It’s always a difficult call for management, I know. That’s where I think I certainly add value, in bringing some realism to the table, or pressing supplier harder for actual, rather than promised bug/issue fixes.

So what could be learned from this particular go-live? A go-live in a Covid19 world of remote working, can be more challenging than most. Notwithstanding doing training remotely etc.

Well, a few people thought “We should have done more testing and more from end-users”. This is a perennial point in all go-lives I find. Test to death, as practically as you can. Each hour testing prior, will save twenty times that, after go-live. I have been involved in projects where go-live day almost went without serious incident and users remarking to me, “Wow that went so smoothly, we wasted time on all that testing!”. That does miss the point somewhat and most sites that test properly, thankfully never experience a lot of the actual horror stories out there. Devote as much time as you can to testing, before ever committing to go-live.

Another area was a few loose ends with reports. These are often in the gift of your internal team, occasionally for your supplier to develop. Check and double check you can monitor all your processes and are not losing anything you rely on currently.

Go-live, as I have said on many occasions, is only the first stop on a long journey with a new system. It should not be confused with the final destination. Issues and snagging coming out of go-live need to be collated methodically and users made aware of progress being made, even if their particular teams issue is taking a little longer to be addressed. There is a need here for comms to be wrapped around the messaging here. Keeping users and managers aware of progress being made and next steps in how the dust is going to settle over the next month or so, is crucial to keeping everyone motivated and on-board.

Later that week I was chatting with a system supplier about that go-live and they asked, “How much did they go live with?”. They were a tad surprised when I answered, “Everything we set out to, ie Rents, repairs, CRM, case management, workflow, self-service etc. I don’t mess about”. Inevitably, the conversation moved to how a lot of sites end up de-scoping, sometimes to the point they put something like just Assets or Choice based Lettings in, when they are replacing an HMS and declare themselves ‘Live’. I don’t know if the users or the supplier is fooling or being fooled on those, but its certainly a subject I need to revisit, in a future blogpost!

Related Post: More projects are a marathon, rather than a sprint. Plan that way from the start


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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.

Thin Lizzy - Are You Ready?Thin Lizzy - Are You Ready?.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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, ...
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Tuesday, 10 November 2020

Above the Clouds

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


If there is anything that we have learned during the 2020 spring, summer and autumn of Covid19, is that we need more than ever to be embracing the cloud. Our applications are best delivered for the most part in a browser so we have access potentially everywhere we have the connectivity.

 Off-line mobile still I feel needs to be including in the mix. This is being proven by certain notable suppliers, who have for years tried to convince me that browsers will do it all, now belatedly doing some offline mobile too.

The key to all this, is that data is best hosted in the Cloud, not on-premise. OBV’s data in the cloud can potentially be better accessed wherever our staff are working. They don’t need to be at a physical location, or staff no longer being tied to a particular PC/workstation with a client-server installed. I have been seeing for over a year, clients of mine mandating ‘Cloud First’, particularly councils, which is a significant shift. I have always said that hardware and infrastructure teams, have been very much like turkeys. That is never keen to vote for Christmas.

Within Social Housing, the key integrated solutions are either browser delivered, or playing catchup to achieve that. Some playing better and faster than others. Suppliers left behind surely are vulnerable to aggressive takeover, with inevitable uncertainty for current customers.

Once solutions are in a browser, the obvious move then is to offer a full SaaS product with hosting bundled in. With my old dark side supplier head on, from ten years ago, why would you not?

Well, I attended an account management meeting a few months back, where migration paths were discussed. My client was keen to migrate to a new version, into the cloud, reducing the usual on-premise concerns. You know, backups, resilience, patching, upgrading the SAN when more storage needed etc. Something strange came over in the conversation, which was that the cost of the available cloud option, meant that some customers, were reconsidering installing browser based presentation, but keep it on-premise.

Now I recognise that utilising the Cloud brings with it lots of benefits, which would in a ROI justification, would be offset costs against staff time or a likely fraction of a FTA (Full Time Equivalent). Clearly in this case, cloud hosting costs could be excessive, hence it was creating a barrier to an easy decision to move from on-premise. Clearly, organisations particularly smaller ones under 5,000 homes, may have difficulty justifying cloud costs.

Looking back in time, hardware such as servers etc used to have good margins. 20%+ was not unusual, yet now ‘the tin’, as people in the sector might call it, is just commodity. A sixteen terabyte SAN is close to just a £grand. Most UK kit these days comes from just 4 or 5 key suppliers, Dell, HP, Lenovo etc, down from maybe 20 choices, including regional independents. Margins now are wafer thin.

A great deal of cloud storage these days is provided by a cluster of mostly reliable third party independents, plus AWS (Amazon web services), Microsoft, Google etc. The latter have advantages of benefits of scale. Margins around cloud can be in the same ballpark as where traditional hardware was 15 years ago. I would guess a shakeout is needed, in order to make cloud more economical and is almost certain to come. No doubt some of the less nimble hosting providers will fall by the wayside and commercially call it a day.

Software suppliers need to quickly find ways to reduce the costs of the cloud storage component of their offerings, otherwise Social Housing organisations will fall short on the potential transformation and hold back on full beneficial cloud adoption. Getting it embraced sooner, rather than later will free more end users from Citrix gateways, remote desktops etc, so we can be really in the 2020’s and prepare for the new normal.

Related Post: Remote working, is it really as simple as rucking up to Marios Cafe? I wish it was that simple


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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.

Paul Weller – Above The cloudsPaul Weller – Above The clouds.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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, 3 November 2020

Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap

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

Honestly have you ever really had a great deal from anything, that was absolutely dirt cheap?

I was chatting about this very thing just last week and the colleague I was chatting with, agreed with me. That was that most things (too) cheap, either have a problem or we will end up paying much more in the long run. That’s generally because we have to patch it up with something better, or the original outfit goes pop, or the original outfit use change control or just sales charisma in some cases, to recover the true cost.

Cost savings often do result in vast amounts of frustration, lost staff time and lost opportunities to crack a lot of that inspirational transformation, we all crave these days. You might be reading this with ‘transformation’ in your job title, or your remit might well include ‘organisational transformation’. It’s a fair ask, everyone wants improvements. We are all stretched, budgets are shrinking and it’s a given, we need to do more with less.

Too few organisations are still not questioning why some things are so cheap. Part of the trick is having some benchmarks, to know your outliers, then to question them.

One recent example I had was a full HMS procurement, where one supplier was half the price of the others. My client operations director thought that wonderful, she was less happy when I said, “to me its ringing alarm bells”. To the experienced, its easy to determine why, although many organisations avoid external help, so can be blind to much of the obvious. I kind of get that, because on occasion I have been described as ‘expensive’, although in contrast, more clients have told me that I “saved them more than they spent with me as a critical friend”. I like that. That’s what I think I am here for.

Have you ever had a project where you have agonised over when procuring, around that cost/quality scoring ratio? If we need great transformation opportunities I generally advise clients to favour quality/functionality over cost. On more than one occasion, I have been asked,”what if we end up with a preferred supplier, £200k more expensive than the others?”. Bear in mind occasionally we are severly limited and in those situations, we need to clearly cut our coat to our cloth.

My answer has always been that if we want the transformation ambition, we probably will be displacing some job roles, as efficiencies are applied, but adding additional value to staff performance. IE freeing up staff to do more for residents, adding more value with tech or with better tech freeing staff up. In that context, £200k might free up ten staff in year one. That’s also a saving in years 2,3,4 – 10 etc. Considered in that context, how could cheapest that could struggle with delivering the transformation, ever be best?

Clearly in an OJEU procurement, to assist everyone, ratios are defined and communicated up front, for the benefit of all. Now many people know quite well I have worked for 14 years on the dark (supplier) side, which makes me very sensitive to supplier as well as my clients needs. In my procurements, I have always refused to move the goal posts part way in the process. Firstly its wrong and unfair, also it violates the rules. On a few occasions, I have said to clients, ‘No you cannot do it’.

The last instance of ‘Done Cheap’ I have encountered, from both sides of the fence, is the tactic of reducing margins down to the absolute minimum. Often if finance are driving outcomes, this looks like a great deal from the client viewpoint. The supplier being totally strapped down however, has nothing in their ‘bank of goodwill’ for flexibility. Every deviation from contract or specification, will inevitably result in formal change control and additional cost and hassle. I do tend to advise some rowing back from that, as we will need some goodwill on both sides in the project, both supplier and client needing a shared bank of goodwill, to travel forward effectively to success.

I am sure many reading this will recognise a number of these insights. The takeaway is that you should not get tied up too much by the bottom line. Its about getting the right value at an acceptable level of risk, that the price will provide. Risk is probably worth a blogpost all on its own. Maybe later in lockdown, I will revisit that old chestnut son.

Related Post: How do you do your process mapping? have you embraced the Swim Lane?


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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.

AC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt CheapAC/DC - Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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, ...
. . . . . . . . . . . .

Sunday, 18 October 2020

International Dateline

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

This week I was working with a social housing landlord client at the tail end of a procurement, where we are down to a couple of possible suppliers and software products.

One of the most important parts of a procurement that I find is generally glossed over, is the reference site follow-up. That probably warrants a whole future blog of its own to be honest, as it can be so crucial in flagging up future issues that may need mitigating in your project delivery.

No doubt about it, who suppliers chose for your procurement says much about how their user base feels and functions in relationships with them. Large suppliers with only the same couple of reference sites definitely should flag up questions, as should why much nearer apparent sites have not been put forward.

In this case, both options had plenty of sites to choose from and spookily the product was sold in many countries and regions around the world. Now I have sat through demos where many familiar suppliers have put that initial slide up to say they have 20,000 people working for them and they have sites all over the place. The claim was generally true, but the reality sometimes is that out of that number, it might just be two men, a lady and a dog, based in some outpost like Cumbernauld employed by them, who actually will be your go-to support.   

They might be a very good three person team, but might not be adequate to support a product, over sold to dozens of unwary punters. Inevitably they would be a bottleneck to getting anything done or anything done or fixed quickly. Much like a single point of failure inside a housing organisation, management need to recognise and mitigate it quickly for everyone’s benefit.

These two references were really positive, although one of the people I am working with on the project mentioned something that really surprised them and it made one really stand out for him. The reference site had mentioned that on a number of occasions that help desk tickets had been picked up and resolved for them well out of normal hours, even though contracted support was a working 09:00-17:00. We are all used to logging help desk calls via self-service these days and probably phoning in those emergency (everything down) P1 calls.

The difference was with one supplier, was that a single worldwide helpdesk was being utilised for the product. When the Europe team clocked off, the US team in CA kicked in, Australia next, then the India team. You get the picture. Clearly too, a worldwide helpdesk meant a massive knowledge base supported the help desk staff, it wasn’t just in one persons head. Even though that sort of service wasn’t contracted, it was often delivered.

With a some of our ‘usual suspects’ suppliers now being amalgamated into bigger groups and claiming to have customers across three or more continents using the same products we use here in UK & Ireland, how many will have the ambition to evolve to be more joined up? Is that something your organisation could benefit from, rather than your helpdesk calls often falling out of your contract SLA’s?

Do have it in your mind when that slide of reassurance comes up at the start of your demo, to ask, “Where is your helpdesk located for this solution being offered and are you open enough to share your unvarnished current SLA stats for it”?

Related Post: Thinking about your procurements, are you asking the right questions?


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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.

Ladytron – International DatelineLadytron – International Dateline.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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, 6 October 2020

Serco Don’t Lose That Number!

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


Earlier this week, a few thousand people and probably a dozen at least of my contacts, probably grinned with a knowing smile. 

Of course I am writing about the UK’s national Serco Test and Trace spaff-up, relying on Excel spreadsheets, to collate and process Covid-19 tests. 

If I had £500 for every time I had told people off for calling 'info in spreadsheets', a database, I could have retired by now.

The situation could be laughable, if it were not so important and crucial.

Now, if anyone wants to spread blame around, I would personally start with Microsoft. Why So, you might ask🤔

The original Lotus 1-2-3, as anyone who broke their teeth on it during the 1980’s may remember, only had a maximum of 8,192 rows (and 256 columns). Now if it had stayed at that size, a very limited number of fools would have tried to store lots of data in it and sensibly selected a proper database to do the job. But no. As Reeve’s and Mortimer might have said, “They couldn’t let it lie” -  .

Microsoft’s Excel gave us 65,536 rows, immediately giving the illusion of it being a ‘database’, not a useful summary manipulation and presentation tool, which is what a spreadsheet does best. I have been involved in so many projects where users, managers and directors in some cases, have been firmly wedded to spreadsheets, needing to migrate to proper solutions, with protection, data control and robust audit. I have often proposed amnesty, after replacement system go-live, where spreadsheets can be dropped.

My proposal is that if the fearsome and opposing communities in Northern Ireland, could put their weapons beyond use, we should have a spreadsheet version of the Good Friday Agreement, where users do the same and promise never to return to them again. For some its starting to catch on thankfully.


For sure, Excel can be a good place to start for an initial prototype, but no one should continue to try to run a whole enterprise on it. Serco are not alone. Eight years ago or so, I worked with a big organisation, dealing with £8m of monthly transactions on Excel with its one million row and memory limit creaking & ready to break. Fifteen years earlier, with a turnover a 50th of that, spreadsheets just kind of worked. For that organisation it took about 4 months to procure and 12 to implement, a proper finance, feeder and self-service solution and they never looked back.

Serco however have apparently been paid £12b of taxpayers dosh and should have been able to build their own database quite quickly with 20 or so of the right ICT staff, none of which would have probably stuck with Excel, if there was any capability of a millions of test a day Moonshot a-coming.

In my time manipulating data, I have witnessed many things Excel does trying to be clever, without telling you. Truncating to 65,536 is common where old solutions can only use XLS format to export. No doubt you might have experienced that too. The type and length of unique ID’s seen in the SocialHousing sector, is ripe for Excel to helpfully swap then to scientific notation. How we laughed at that one, several weeks down the line.


 
So, beware the spreadsheet, its not a database. Don’t do a Serco Track & Trace, learn from their mistakes.

Who in YOUR organisation needs to take that advice to heart?

Related Post: Keep an eye on your staff using spreadsheets, adding up totals, with a calculator too!


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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.

Steely Dan – Rikki Don’t Lose That NumberSteely Dan – Rikki Don’t Lose That Number.
(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 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Thursday, 1 October 2020

Rescue Me

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

Perhaps no one (except for maybe Albert Camus, seventy three years ago), could have confidently predicted COVID-19’s impact on the Social Housing sector in 2020 – particularly its repairs function.

Last week’s news of more lockdown-focused tightening prolongs existing challenges even further.

Most of the organisations I work with, especially where internal direct labour is involved (the trusty DLO or Building Services Team), have stripped back their repairs function. It’s just Emergency and Voids works now.

For the latter, a couple of my clients have focussed on preparing temporary accommodation for homelessness provision or early prisoner releases. Many DLO staff, including one on my street, oddly enough, have been furloughed.

More than one current client of mine has highlighted that tenants are ‘cottoning on’ to the new normal and logging minor issues as far larger ones, to squeeze repairs into the Emergency priority zone.

The dilemma for all appears to be a building backlog of ordinary, urgent, routine repairs (and some Right-To-Repair priorities in Scotland). Regulators seem to have dragged their feet in offering direction. However all those logged issues will have to be chewed through and everyone expects their current workforce to struggle when work orders can finally be scheduled.

Back in January, I blogged about Plentific, which could be described quite rightly as the socially-minded ‘Uber of Repairs’. The company and the concept is interesting to me as it has gained exceptional traction with providers such as Notting Hill Genesis, Peabody and uses a unique platform attractive to the sector. It also features a mature marketplace to match skilled staff, rated on each job, to sector demand. Verification of staff certifications and capabilities are coupled with a fast-paying financial platform, a key benefit for the framework of contractors.

The Plentific Platform

I was interested in how Plentific is expanding across the wider UK and more so, how COVID-19 may have impacted its business model. What’s the best rating achievable for works undertaken in this new normal?

Like others, Plentific initially saw a drive to more Emergency priority work, including the new innovation of COVID-19 deep cleans, particularly in London, where the Coronavirus spike hit first. With a number of trade staff within social housing clients self-isolating or furloughed, Plentific throughput was similar to the same quarter 2019.

From recent webinars and my own contacts in the sector, I know that Plentific is rapidly expanding into major conurbations across the UK. I understand that expansion of the platform’s ecosystem has led to more partner contractors under their wing already in the West Midlands, Birmingham, Manchester, Leeds and Liverpool.

This important development I believe unlocks a potential new resource in the main urban areas, becoming available to be used as a ‘pressure release valve’, for the social housing COVID-19 backlog.

More importantly, if as the scientists seem to be suggesting, a second peak arrives, Plentific might well be the backup for a DLO or your key partnering contractor.  

Availability of solutions, as we all know, is one thing. Passing muster with procurement in order to exploit a new digital-world contractor, such as Plentific, can be something else. Framework-only is quite common these days, particularly in local authorities and fortunately a framework does exist.
 
Personally, I am liking the ‘Uber of Repairs’ concept, particularly as it's cost effective for landlords and potentially can drive up resident satisfaction. Contractors seem to like Plentific too, as it’s a personal and on-going relationship (way beyond the taxi Uber). Go check out more at https://www.plentific.com/

Related Post: How well does your organisation handle repair recharges? 


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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.

Cabaret Voltaire - Rescue MeCabaret Voltaire - Rescue Me.
(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, Gas Tag,G-Cloud,GCloud,GDPR,GGP,GIS,GasTag,Genero,GeoSolveIT,Getting best from,GoTonySmith,Grasp,Grip,Group Apex, 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,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, 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, 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, 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 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