Tuesday, 9 February 2021

Alone, Jealous and Stoned

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

I'm afraid to disappoint that this post is not a summary of my pandemic lockdown condition.

Many of us are feeling alone and jealous of those Kiwi’s and Aussies, enjoying their BBQ’s together in the sun, with minimal Coronavirus restrictions. You may too be enjoying a few more drugs of choice, whether that might be wine, the odd tipple or something tending more to the medicinal. Hopefully we are keeping our mental state stable and checking in on our friends & neighbours to ensure they are ok.

My subject in this post is more to do with the ‘alone’ than the ‘Jealous and Stoned’.

Microsoft Dynamics 365 (or just D365 as its increasingly referred to), is increasingly being sold as the modern antidote to your existing sluggish vertical supplier suppliers, you have suffered with and been overcharged from, for yonks.

Now its fair to say I have met quite a few social housing organisations, that feel that way. Possibly that they have been let down by existing supplier integrated solutions, or they have got so complex, even they at times, struggle to have consultants and implementers with broad enough skills/knowledge to get them working properly. 

Many organisations are quite middle of the road in reality and just crack on to use the horses for courses. Also, some of the ineffective solutions out there, can quite easily be the client, not the suppliers fault. Not many are happy if they are hiring me to point that out, but always honesty is the best policy, I find.

Microsoft resellers are targeting the sector pretty actively however and notching up some impressive wins. Whether all organisations totally understand what they are buying into at the outset is doubtful, although that’s perhaps a subject for another post later in the year.

Any D365 reseller worth his salt will always sell it on its CRM capabilities, a true thing of beauty. It should be, it’s a CRM platform after all! No one selling D365 will be banging on about its Rent Accounting capabilities. I have on occasion seen that questioned and occasionally MS Dynamics gets mentioned in passing. As anyone in socialhousing knows, a rent account is a few levels more sophisticated than a Sales Ledger Account. The other suggestion is often, “well just keep your rents  in your old HMS”. Takes me back to the 80’s, what did they say, “Shampoo and Conditioner”?

I thought the sales pitch was that “Your existing supplier is not giving you what you want, that’s why you need to swap to this”? Why then do we need to keep paying for a whole HMS, use just a little bit of it and have D365 over the top, doing its best to hide it from us?

For sites looking to minimise or remove the old HMS, then possibly it’s a hard learned lesson that you will still need a separate rent accounting and in some cases a repairs ordering module. This is becoming a new emerging requirement. Just getting those, relatively self-contained, with suitable API’s / integration, to connect seamlessly to D365, Salesforce, Netcall, Firmstep, IEG4 or whatever.

In work I have done recently, that’s not as easy a task as one might expect. Existing system options can come with all that ‘bloat’ of a big HMS platform, all those config days needed and perhaps getting it fully in the cloud (as most sites desire these days) can be pricy, as the off the shelf set up reflects taking a full HMS, not just one or two modules.

I am not criticising suppliers for this, its how they have been tooled up for the last decade. The future is being sold as SaaS, pay for what you use. It does need a re-think on the part of some suppliers, to compete at a sensible price point for CRM customers.

No-doubt we will be seeing more of this requirement and suppliers need to be aware of how they can offer very good product, that can be easily slotted into CRM quickly and at reasonable pricing. I for one would like to see more suppliers targeting this growing market, so providing more choice and range for RSL’s of from just 1,000 units to over 50,000.     

Clearly, those suppliers quick out of the blocks, have much to gain here.

Related Post: Have you and your team sussed it yet? Transformation is a marathon, not a sprint


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.

The Secret Machines - Alone, Jealous, and StonedThe Secret Machines - Alone, Jealous, and Stoned.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009

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