Tuesday, 19 November 2013

Beat Dis

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK
or LinkedIn here uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/
It's not often the social housing world beats the Barclay's etc. of the business world, the Scottish FA and Cancer Research in IT innovation. Sure we figure annually  in the lists of 100 best places to work. So we should, most of us are a fluffy, caring lot. 

But IT innovation? Did you think you mis-read that one?
Our IT budgets are not the biggest out there, frequently we have to do more with less in a constantly changing regulatory  environment. Frequently IT people come into the sector and criticise the system and applications that we have at our disposal to work with. Often I spend time trying to fit projects to shrinking budgets and am used to meeting some pretty innovative folk.

One of my favourites I have worked the last year with is Yarlington, based down in Yeovil, South Somerset. Granted, a county many may think of as quite sleepy (if people can actually place it on a map at all, that is). We probably race through it to get to Devon or Cornwall now and again, but leave the inhabitants to have a quiet life, make excellent craft cider and those flying machine things at Westland & BAE.

Well, a quiet revolution has been going on down there. In contrast to many with GIS, they have worked with local authority, ESRI, and their stakeholders, to provide a global view of geography, people, YHG customers, crime, listed buildings, social factors etc. Yarlington then found a cost effective method of deploying that to everyone in the organisation, using tools from the great Mapchannels resource, who might be able to make use of it. All existing internal data sources are available too, providing over a hundred different layer combinations. This helps Yarlington put customers and residents further at the heart of what they do.

New sign-ups can view their new neighbourhood in terms of proximity to nearest Post Office, surgery or recreation facilities or parks. Also crime hotspots, local transport provision etc. the repair team can be more efficient as they know where listed properties, trees and features are present, saving time, effort and reducing (paid for) local authority searches. New developments can be targeted to new areas of need, many in successful new developments further afield than the traditional heartland of South Somerset. In these austere times, Yarlington is doing all they can to be in their customers corner. This is a tool that makes that a reality, day in day out.

I saw the presentation and video Karen Dumper and Chris Reed put together for the initial sessions for the UK IT Industry Awards. It was inspirational and showed the outcomes not the under the bonnet techie aspect of the solution. Emphasis was on how they had satisfied their customers, a theme and a message I make myself blue in the face trying to do, with many housing organisations. It's about them (the customers or customer users) not us stupid!

Last week I was knocked out to hear that they had beaten the competition hands down. A humble housing 'David' taking on 'Goliath's. Read more about it here http://www.yhg.co.uk/news/13-11-14/Yarlington_wins_top_award_for_I_T_project.aspx 

In my book we need more of this. IT working properly for the users & residents, people being freed up to innovate and think out of the box.

You can link with me on LinkedIn here - uk.linkedin.com/pub/tony-smith-bsc-hons-acih/a/979/351/ It would be great to connect !

Read on to The End of those dial-up days:

Bomb The Bass - Beat Dis .

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009

PS As usual, if there are subjects you might like me to tackle on this blog, please get in touch and let me know!

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