Saturday, 19 May 2018

Standing in the Way of Control

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



Anyone who has worked with or knows me, will know my knowledge of Socialhousing sector solutions, goes way beyond just the key HMS or Financial Accounting solutions.

There are many peripheral applications and solutions that fill in the gaps from the ‘usual suspect’ providers, particularly in areas that they have not got into, or not managed to crack just yet. They might never crack them either. Who knows?

This can include dynamic scheduling, predictive analytics, some outsourced services and other areas. No doubt there are some great solutions out there and on occasion I have worked to try to calculate ROI (Return On Investment) for most of the projects I work on. That calculation is essential and without it, governance is weakened in my opinion. Most of the projects I have come to late and are drifting or over-running in cash and time terms, were never properly proceeded by a robust business case, or reasonable ROI calculation.

The same can be said of when we tinker with services. Often I see many bright ideas being introduced in a melee of change. Rarely have defined outcomes been agreed prior, often the means of measurement not considered either. Typically, that might be a faster turnaround of void properties to fill them with new residents, reduce arrears levels, increase income collection, or enhance resident satisfaction.

I am often asked, “We have product X, do you think its worth keeping”?

My reply is often, “Well can the such and such team, prove it makes a difference”?

The answer to that is often, “Well that teams a little bigger now, than before they brought in solution X”! Now, is that an experience you may have had in your organisation?

One excellent way that statisticians will tell you to measure effectiveness, if it’s a drugs trial or an exercise to improve arrears, is the use of a ‘control’ group. These are left alone with the existing process or systems, so an accurate comparison can be made. Both groups will be subject to the same ambient influences, such as free weeks, continued shift to Universal Credit, royal weddings, Christmas or winter cold snaps or summer holiday season. All of these could affect our results if not using a control and falsely lead to incorrect conclusions.

Practical use of a control group, could mean perhaps a new initiative or software application was only applied to half the housing stock/residents, or maybe split between a specific demographic, such as leaseholders or particular repair trades, such as heating or plumbing.

To understand what we are comparing, it can pay dividends, to only introduce a single change or set of changes at once, if practical. This might take marginally longer, but you will have a better understanding of the outcomes of the changes being made, what works or not and to what degree.

Particularly in the case of software or solutions that can be started as a small trial, as they are often to avoid a lengthy procurement process, effectiveness can be more accurately measured and more informed decisions made.

Related Post: If you are a supplier, do your USP's fit on a page or less? Should they? 



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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.

Gossip - standing In The way of ControlGossip - standing In The way of Control.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009


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