Friday, 9 August 2019

Nothing Lasts Forever In The Same Old Scene

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
or LinkedIn here

What does last forever? Not relationships, cars or software it seems. Of the latter, there is a lot of old solutions about, particularly within the Social Housing sector. It always brightens up my day when someone tells me they still have some solution based around Lotus Notes, PICK, character based screens or applications written by long gone local software houses.

On a serious (Lotus) note however, we have a few housing systems in the sector and used by local councils still managing housing, currently with an end of life deadline or heading to be legacy. Capita Academy, Civica Saffron and a mix of other, being some that I have advised on recently and have pressing deadlines. The unfortunate customers still on these, all need to organise themselves and plan a reliable way forward.

Chances are and in my experience, organisations with these applications are also likely to have legacy software in other housing teams too. Examples I have seen are very old DLO/Contractor solutions, Homelessness & signposting and case management. Often these were all purchased because these areas were beyond the scope of the original solutions. A common attribute of these peripheral items is that they rarely integrate, if at all.

A lovely memory of Saffron, Universe PICK at its best
Having a solution or piece of software for 15-20+ years can be costly. A quite fag packet check often reveals that each solution may cost £60-80k annually in support, as all those years of RPI or CPI have taken their toll. The user is a victim of compound interest %increases.

If you read this and consider panicking to rush out to fast track jumping into bed with any particular system, I would suggest taking a more measured approach. It will help you be better informed, ensure you are getting value for money, transformation you most likely desire and a modern platform for the future.

INGRES at its best Academy, lovely!
I have worked recently with several clients, where within a few weeks, we had surveyed the lay of the land, considered options up close and seen solutions first hand, having opportunity to question them in detail too. There is no ‘default’ pathway or ideal way forward, don't let anyone assure you of that.

For one particular legacy HMS, in Somerset, the best outcome was to upgrade with the existing key supplier. At a council in Scotland, with the same legacy solution, the option was to go to market and in that situation, an alternative option was successfully procured.

A number of current offerings also can provide credible, tried, tested and well integrated solutions, that were historically peripheral. So DLO Contractor, Asset Management, Homelessness, Case Management etc, can all come out of the box, on day 1 going live. Consideration of any possible future mergers, cloud strategy (as the world does seem to be going browser based and off-premise), are also crucial considerations.

My involvement rarely stops at helping to enable a procurement too. In most of my projects, my Critical Friend role enables me to see the strengths and weaknesses of various solutions, which can be examined and mitigated for future clients, during pre-market engagements or procurements. My historic experience uniquely of implementing full HMS solutions, unparalleled data migration knowledge and managing a team of implementers, does also come in the mix and makes me somewhat unique among consultants suitable for this kind of task, in the UK and Ireland.

Often within just a few weeks, it’s possible to plot a way forward and make it happen, bringing reliability and surety to dealing with end of life social housing solutions.

If you are suffering software solution end of life, feel free to contact me for an informal chat. DM me or give me a call on 07854-655009. If you get some Hobnobs in and the kettle on, I am happy to pop in for an hour, when nearby. My current projects involve me in the SW, Wales, West Midlands, Yorkshire, Central & NE Scotland

Related Post: How many Social Housing self Service Offerings fall well short of real-world offerings?  

I would be pleased to connect with you on LinkedIn - 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.

Roxy Music -Same Old SceneRoxy Music -Same Old Scene.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 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.

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