Wednesday, 10 July 2019

Move On

If you do the Twitter thing, follow me at @HousingITguy
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Mobile working has come a long way since early days when back in 2007/8, when my old shop was developing on Windows Mobile, almost the only credible game in town, before the growth of Android from 2009, when cheap devices running it became available.

Apple iOS devices also appeared, which meant that customers quite rightly wanted choice, freedom to buy devices to fit their budget & preferences.

That was the point where pretty much a software house could no longer credibly develop mobile, as a side-line, with just the classic ‘two men and a dog’.

Ahh Windows 6.5, not much missed...
The growth of mobile specialists began and the long path to quality integration started. I do feel sorry for the pioneers, during 2010 and 2015, many of whom had bad experiences, that put them off mobile for several years after.

However, in 2019 we are in a better place, particularly in the #SocialHousing sector, where I mostly work. Devices, integration is pretty much there, many have done it before and we have pretty good UK mobile signal coverage these days. Where we have gaps, WiFi thankfully can often take the strain.

Within the sector, we have some key players, all with key alliances or owned by Housing System solution suppliers. Perhaps in some cases, some of these alliances need to be revisited, in the light of two movements in the last couple of months, which may have gone under the radar.

The first is that Kirona, who recently benefitted from an injection of LivingBridge VC, in April were bought by Advanced. (or OneAdvanced as they seem to be branding themselves. What is it with this ‘One’ thing, these days?) Their new owner will be well-known to users of OpenAccounts, various social care and HR/Payroll solutions, popular in the housing sector.

Advanced already have some mobile solutions, within social care and other sectors. This might well take Kirona’s focus from housing, something it has been working on for some time.

Northgate Housing users will be familiar with Kirona, its offices historically just across from the NPS one, in Alderley Edge. Northgate I understand are already working on their own independent mobile solutions, so giving customers a future choice. It will be interesting how Advanced assimilate Kirona mobile & scheduling customers. Do share your experiences via DM🤔

Secondly, it was interesting to see Cloud Dialogs join the fold at TotalMobile. Interestingly Nick Jeffreys has a OptiTime/DRS/Kirona connection, as many in the sector will know, strangely connecting these two acquisitions. More info here.

Many will remember the origins of Belfast based TotalMobile as Consilium  and many Capita Housing customers will know TM as its default partner for mobile. I think this is an interesting acquisition that may bring the most benefits to the housing & Contractor sectors. It will be interesting to watch what happens with this one.

The other key integrated housing software solution suppliers, pretty much have a default mobile solution by now. Aareon with 1st Touch, Castleton with Agile etc.

While other mobile solutions are available, few have significant penetration within the #socialHousing sector, so carrying some risk. If you are behind the curve and not utilising staff mobile to increase efficiency, always assess risk carefully. Ask how many clients are live and where you can see the effective integration in operation. That might save you some heartache and tears later.

You can of course go it alone with toolkits, like the one from NDL. But do remember, you will be building a 'one of a kind', that should be properly documented, for when your developers move on.

If you think you need help with progressing mobile, or need guidance in dealing with a project that’s going (or gone) off the rails, just get in touch!

Related Post: Have you got your staff just wasting their time, doing stuff that adds no value?  


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.

White Denim – Move OnWhite Denim – Move On.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting 07854-655009

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