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I have been a developer in my time, managed some, worked with many and been seriously disappointed with a few over the years. They are notoriously bad at estimating most things, particularly when they are asked for a timescale. It’s rare to hear the answer ‘Sooner Than You Think’.
A couple of years back when doing some work on local authority Digital Customer Access Platforms (CRM by any other name I guess), when first introduced to the concept of ‘Low-code’, that phrase was an answer I got back when asking how quickly anything productive can be created. Some CRM platforms are often notorious for the MVP school of development and it’s something that often has irritated me and clients alike. Complexity of development environments mean that hard core ICT skills are needed, or lots of potentially expensive reseller days. Councils I saw who had really exploited innovative low-code, had achieved a lot in weeks, rather than months or years.
In that sector, not all that was called ‘low-code’ seemed equal.
The difference I realised, once I had visited a few reference sites (in the corners of UK’s most unpopular business parks and industrial estates OBVs), was where there was ability to package up and spread the love with the low-code. The means of doing that was something we would refer to now as ‘The App Share’. The solution with the biggest App Share and community, was Netcall Liberty.
[The Netcall App-Share concept]
It was a constant source of excitement for my local authority customers. Sight of six alternative working council approaches, for ordering green gardening waste bins, that could be transplanted as 85% ready to go low-code, got solutions moving quickly. For me, the contrast with D365, Salesforce, SAP and other platforms was quite stark. Local Councils have a similar ethic of sharing best practice when they can, as in the Social Housing community. I wondered at the time how Netcall Liberty could work within housing system environments.
Readers of this blog will be aware that when I work in Scotland, most of my work is with the super team at Arneil Johnston. My super colleagues Donna and Gill (as well as yours truly when let out!), work out of office space in Motherwell at the offices of Clyde Valley HA. Spookily enough, I was surprised to hear that Clyde Valley, are one of the early adopters of Low-code with Netcall Liberty.
In a typically Social Housing type of way too, they are collaborating and sharing low code in the App Share already, with a provider of a few thousand homes in South Wales. Both are introducing Netcall’s omnichannel contact centre solution
Housing like local government, can be a fast-moving environment and this methodology, potentially puts the power and resources, closer to the hands of practitioners, rather than joining a large queue, or waiting list to access ICT boffins or your £1,100 a day suppliers.
So, what do the guys at the sharp end at Clyde Valley, make of the experience?
Fin Smith, the Customer Services Director, Clyde Valley HA says, “We recognise that our customers’ expectations are growing all the time. Managing customer contact in a modern, agile and flexible way is foundational to this. We have partnered with Netcall for both contact centre and CXM solutions that will allow us to manage customer contact through all available channels, provide customers with true online self-service options, allow our colleagues to mobilise even more effectively and to manage all customer requests in an efficient and visible way.”
Clyde Valleys Business Improvement team, in collaboration with a South Wales housing provider, are also leaving their experiences in the form of low-code solving housing problems, in the App Share. These are all free to access by other organisation customers, opening up lots of the great collaboration for system solutions, that we do so well in the Social Housing sector.
What do those guys developing the processes in the solutions think? I had a very interesting chat with Sarah Parker, one of the team working at the coalface. She told me that "over just a few months, new processes are being completed quickly, to align systems to a new smart-think corporate strategy. Sarah was pleased that seamless CRM, mobile and self-serve, was giving Clyde Valley control and the ability to be agile, in the current fast moving environment". A refreshing collaborative approach is evident too between Clyde Valley and Netcall. This helps in finding the quickest and sustainable way to solve challenges. Certainly, this is something that we would all really see more of, with all of our suppliers.
Read more on the Clyde Valley accelerated CRM and customer service project on this link
If you are considering tying together all your services within a new CRM platform, look a little beyond the usual suspects. The contrast might just surprise you, using resources closer to your service problems, rather than the complex code under the bonnet of some of the other platforms out there. I regard the App share concept as a real game changer. It’s a refreshing change from the often ‘closed systems’ mindset, or keep paying again & again, of many suppliers in the marketplace. The success of this within local government CRM solutions, is now available for social housing too. Let’s see if we can embrace it to jump-start our own tenant and staff process solutions.
Maybe consider getting your CRM platform up and live, ‘Sooner Than You Think’ too. Checkout the Netcall webinar coming up, May 26th book on at https://www.netcall.com/events/what-is-tenant-hub/
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New Order – Sooner Than You Think.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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