Monday, 10 September 2012

Good Enough

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

As anyone who reads or lands on this blog will know, I keep a roof over my head from the proceeds of working with IT, particularly Housing IT. Don’t get me wrong, I have a true passion for social housing and work like crazy to help everyone get the most from it. Well working that way, all that effort gets trickled down to all our neighbourhoods eventually. That's what I believe anyway.

I remember having a chat with an IT chap at Arena housing some time ago at a HITEX exhibition, put together by the Northern Housing Consortium. These are coming up shortly, usually at iconic football stadia or places such as Wembley or York Racecourse. This years are at Chelsea FC London 1st November, 6th November in Cardiff at the Marriott, 13th November DW Stadium at Wigan, finally Aston Villa FC Birmingham 15th November. They are worth a look, check them out. Usually they come with an excellent free lunch, make a beeline for the mini shepherds pies and Cornish pasties, my personal faves. I digress...

Anyway, this cracking stubbled chap and I were discussing ASB solutions. Where I was director at the time at MIS Active Management Systems we had a housing related case management module which covered ASB. It would have difficulty fitting with IBS OpenHousing however (now Capita Open Housing) and i think Arena were using ReAct. Now that’s an excellent standalone solution, I asked him if they were making best use of it. He asked me why I was interested as it was unlikely that we would replace it etc.

I was interested as if it was used well, it would be enabling safer neighbourhoods, joined up thinking and better communities. Spookily enough, an Arena scheme Adamson Court is just at the bottom of my road. A happy community there spreads into a happier safer neighbourhood in the surrounding streets. So Arena’s great use of ASB case software directly affected the quality of my life and surroundings. Arena are now merging with Harvest to form ‘Your Housing Group’. As an aside, I am pleased there will be no competition watchdog investigation into this. (blimey have they nothing better to do??).

So, I am always pleased to be able to give some free advice and lend a helping hand. A contact on social networking asked me last week about CORE. You know, the recording at the end of a new let or sale. For the housing management system in use, addition of the CORE module would have cost over £60K. With some VAT on there tooNow CORE relies on so many fields of information to be found in the source letting module, which frankly are never always there. It makes it necessary to pretty much always confirm information on the ECORE website. Now when you look at that in the round and also compare that with other customers (of that same HMS), the logical conclusion is that doing it manually is good enough.

That's certainly not the most profitably option that I can suggest, but it’s actually the right one. As anyone who knows me would guess, that’s what I suggested. Manual is way good enough. No big IT project, funds freed up to spend on 20 new kitchen or bathroom refurbishments. I hope I have done my bit to improve a little corner of south London.

Sometimes good enough is good enough.

(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting

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