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I had an interesting day this week in Birmingham looking at the future of mobile with Halton Housing Trust, Ongo, Walsall Housing Group, West Lancs Housing, Hillcrest in Dundee and a number of others. I also managed to garner some enthusiasm for the CrimeMap App, a perfect example of how we can use disparate information within our neighbourhoods to our advantage.
Its surprising how far mobile applications have come and the level of innovation that we have in the sector from dedicated mobile software providers. I am very explicit with all people I work with, in terms of suitability of solutions to organisation needs. All suppliers know in advance that I have no favourites. What matches my client needs, matches my needs. That floats my boat. Sensible upgrades from iHousing and existing applications that organisations have invested in are also crucial.
A recognition that your existing customers are coming along with you is crucial. I have got to say too, that I felt empathy with everyone I met and chatted to before and after the event. A collection of realists, ready to change the world for the better, constrained by their budgets, and fun people to be with. A pretty brilliant advert for our sector. These people care like I care.
Still, seeing some changes of thinking from 1st Touch, the mobile supplier was refreshing. Through the day, some of my boxes were getting ticked, IOT, provision of Augmented Reality, 360 degree view etc. All what we need from a specialist mobile provider. It's fair to say that we have probably 3 real contenders in the social housing marketplace, maybe 4 (if that 4th one upped their game somewhat) and each can transform how we interact with our customers.
Note I use the term 'customers'. I don't mean tenants (in the context of tenant agreements). Customers can be household member contacts, contractors, operatives, staff members, sub-contractors, leaseholders, shared owners, service users, training candidates etc.
Mobile systems have certainly become a discipline of its own and not somebody can knock up with a one man and a dog team. If you think you can, well the marketplace will prove to you, that you are deluded my friend. Organisations coming to market, who have researched what's out there, are looking for a rich environment, ready pretty much off the shelf. Those solutions generally do what they say 'on the tin' and are implemented in a shorter time-frame. Its not asking a lot, and predictable outcomes are not unreasonable to ask for.
However being the celebrated Mancunian naysayer that I have been occasionally called, I am in no-doubt that you should take control of your project at all levels and ensure your project is delivered to your contract, as agreed by all parties.
Apologies for coming over all legal there, but listen up suppliers, that is the law. As for poor or badly thought out products, just join Betamax, the Sqarial (anyone remember BSB? - Thought not!) and the rest and for goodness sake, move-on!
Related Post: What is that telphone thing?
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Isaac Hayes - Pursuit of the Pimpmobile.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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