Saturday, 3 May 2014


If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @hotpixUK

I had a very interesting one this week, a day at the excellent InMotion2014, great to meet the keynote speakers the evening before over an excellent meal and even better cheeseboard, followed by a repairs KPI training session in Euston organised with the mighty Rod Laird. A big thank you in order for David Todd of Kirona, excellent organisation as ever.

I was pleased to have the opportunity to chat to Paul Tennant at InMotion, Orbit Group Chief Exec and CIH VP. Someone I have deep respect for, a man fighting for social housing equality and justice on multiple fronts. His keynote speech at InMotion2014 was a real call to action and obviously very heartfelt. Paul is one of the most genuine personalities in UK housing today and in my humble opinion a worthy template for pushing our sectors needs forward. Our sector needs more Paul Tennant's badly, soon please....

Early morning I hosted a very interesting round-table discussion session on 'The Customer Journey' and the best mix of systems to deliver it. I had the two most interesting Welshmen in housing IT with me on the session; Owen Barrett of Newport City Homes and Mark Howles of Sanctuary Group. The former organisation has built best of breed systems around Microsoft Dynamics CRM, the latter taking a big ERP approach with SAP for the OneSanctuary project. Owen clearly did not have the (reputed) seven figure budget that mark (might) have to invest in systems, but both had clear visions as to how a single reporting and performance platform can be built.

I spotted a few system suppliers in the session clearly wondering what was missing in their own solutions to support a large social housing group, such as Sanctuary. In my previous role as MD of a system supplier, I would have loved to have bagged a prize like Sanctuary. It will be interesting how the ERP project emerges and how it compares with the traditional packaged offerings out there and on the horizon, such as Cx. One thing is clear, HMS suppliers who are not moving forward quickly, satisfying customers will be left behind in this race for larger RSL Groups. These are just the customers too, who will expose supplier weaknesses. In a pond of biggish fish, that message will get out quite soon too.

Both Owen and Mark have some way to go to have their systems in and working, Sanctuary a few phases to go yet. Spookily enough, one of the UK HMS suppliers are in fact one of western Europe's largest SAP resellers. I will let you work that out, but maybe it would make sense for that supplier to have a strategy for larger RSLs willing to spend £5M+ on these types of solutions. Oktober a good month for taking bigger RSL Groups for a site visit methinks.

Meanwhile in the real world on Wednesday I led a Repairs KPI training day down in Euston. In recent years I have grown to have true affection for London. People seem more friendly, its cleaner, generally better organised and more of a pleasure to visit, than it was back in my youth. I do find myself with the Smith's track 'London' or The Fall's Ho(e)uston running through my head. In fairness, a half pint in the Euston Tap generally cures that one!

I had a fabulous day with four people from Seren Group in South Wales and Hackney Homes, getting under the skin of repairs KPIs. Both used the same housing system coincidentally and shared some similar challenges to obtain and connect data. Some of the main ones that leapt out from the day are detailed below:

1)      Importance of understanding the customer journey and where reporting KPI data can be sourced within it

2)      The insight and power that combining diverse strands of data provides for advanced scenarios, such as when reporting asset Sustainability

3)      Compare your KPI data with peers that are similar to your organisation, to realise better insights. Attendees in Euston were from a 20,000 home Almo and a semi-rural Welsh 6,000 unit RSL. Differing service and cost levels can only be usefully compared with similar organisations, using same techniques.

4)      In the choice of presentation tools, focus on the means of populating data, rather than the shiny dashboard-y aspects. This is where most of the set up issues are generally found.

5)      Always carefully tailor presentational data to the relevant audience. Don't be afraid to simplify with a smiley face and a single target, for residents. For internal staff, if compiling a heavyweight twenty page document, ensure organisation teams have quick links, to get in to each of their relevant KPI’s. Otherwise it may be seldom viewed or limited use.

I am repeating the "Getting the most from your Repair KPI's" course in central Manchester on Thursday 22nd May 2014. Book early at
This course can also be run in house, if interested, please contact Rod Laird direct.

You can link with me on LinkedIn here - It would be great to connect !

Read on to: Making the most of the conference saeason

The Smiths - London.

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854655009

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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