Friday, 1 November 2019

Big or Small, its Complex

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


One of my aims when originally setting up my consultancy nearly nine years ago, was to bring better use of Social Housing ICT solutions, to all sizes of RPs and RSL’s.

There’s such waste in organisations of all sizes, which could easily be ploughed into core services, more or better staff, better targeting of value time with potential residents who need it, or better repairs & capital works. ICT systems need to earn their keep.

While I work with many providers managing thousands or tens of thousands of homes, recently I have done a lot of work with much smaller landlords, of 400, 160 and just 34 properties. I have met some incredible staff and some residents too, who often see housing as well as support from these landlords.

In a recent procurement process, with a client with under 2,000 properties under management, one supplier declined to submit a completed ITT. The reason given amounted to the client wanting ‘functionality that was more common in a larger RSL’.

Now bidders quite often pull out of procurements for a wide range of reasons, not always citing the real reason why. A prospect could be qualified out by a sales manager, maybe because its felt too ‘cold’ an engagement – i.e. there’s no existing relationship. Perhaps a supplier is already suitably committed or want to concentrate on more ‘solid’ prospects. That’s not a problem, some great proposals came in, however it got me thinking.

Thinking about my recent client with under 200 managed homes, its amazing how sophisticated this organisation is, compared with ones maybe of 7,000 homes or more. Under UK legislation, the smaller organisation still has Gas safety, EPCs, Asbestos, all kinds of other compliance to deal with, in addition to asset management, Universal Credit rollout (& attendant issues that brings) and GDPR. These add a massive overhead if solution features are missing or poorly integrated.

In some ways a procurement with a bigger socialhousing client can be an easier prospect than with a more compact one, as there is more likely to be a few ‘spare’ admin staff (or more likely admin staff with some ‘spare’ capacity), who might take up the slack, for missing or lightweight system features being offered.

Smaller providers are the backbone of much provision these days, in small towns, all across the UK. While working hard to make a difference, these smaller RPs/RSLs need innovative ICT solutions that ease the burden on staff, when trying hard, delivering top notch service. So suppliers, I would expect more requests for functionality just like the ‘bigger players’.

The challenge for suppliers, particularly as all the mainstream players migrate to browser delivered solutions, is how to deliver solutions while keeping implementation days low. That might be by delivering more of an out of the box ‘best practice’ config, or simplifying that whole integration phase, taking a leaf how we work with apps. No one trained us to use Amazon or online banking, but we managed it, didn’t we?  

Once our #socialhousing suppliers crack that, they will seriously crack that smaller market, who are suffering pretty much most of those same complexities as larger organisations, but with maybe 200, not 20,000 homes.

Related Post: Fail to prepared for UAT and you have prepared to fail...  
 

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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.

Lana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment ComplexLana Del Rey – Mariners Apartment Complex.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 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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