Why review your Housing Management System?

Jul 1, 2021Talking Points

Stephen Repton, Managing Director

We’re often asked what’s involved in a review of a Housing Management System and ultimately replacing it?

In this article we caught up with the MD of One Consulting, Stephen Repton to hear more about what’s involved and how to ultimately get to the right answer for your organisation.

So Stephen, let’s start by asking why an organisation would want to conduct a review of its Housing Management System?

“There are a number of benefits of a review.  Firstly it enables you to  have a view on what’s available in today’s marketplace. An options appraisal will provide you with the insight needed to test the market, look at how HMS providers are developing their offerings and how they operate to support social housing providers.

“Secondly, there would appear to be a lot of disruption in the HMS marketplace at the moment with Microsoft, through their Dynamics 365 ERP system, developing a solution that is getting some traction with larger organisations.  We’re also seeing other software vendors in the marketplace starting to invest in development and technology roadmaps around HMS.  These are also gaining some traction and, as long as they provide a solid structure, they could be the next generation of HMSs worth considering.”

“Undertaking a review will also give you valuable insight around processes, functionality, cost, implementation timescales and associated risks.  Changing a HMS is a significant piece of work, which has the potential to result in large investment and lengthy timescales, impacting resource and disrupting business. It is important to start planning early and by fully understanding what’s out there it will help you to stay ahead of the curve and make sure you make the right choice for your organisation.”

So, what’s involved in a review?

“A review starts with an options appraisal that sets firm foundations and a roadmap for future change that you can align to your strategic plans and the outcomes and benefits that you would like to achieve.

“It’s important to plan for such a change, and developments in today’s marketplace are resulting in significant shifts in the way that a Housing Management System is viewed.  It’s our role to help you navigate your way through this.”

Just what options are available?

“There really are lots of options available and what’s right for one organisation may not be right for another.

“Some organisations are exploring full ERP, some are looking at a Hybrid of ERP and HMS whilst other are staying with traditional HMS. We are seeing a trend towards hybrid, with some of the bigger housing providers looking to implement full ERP. However, to fully understand what’s right, what is affordable and the likely timescales, it’s critical to know your options and that is what we can assist you with.

Explain a little more about your role?

“We work with organisations in a number of ways but usually this involves a facilitation of soft market testing with potential suppliers and a workshop partnering approach to ensure that we engage with the key stakeholders across your organisation to gather the information required to develop an informed and reasoned business case that will provide a sound basis for future strategic decision making.

“We are independent and completely focussed on the interests of our clients and not any commercial relationships with suppliers. We are unbiased towards ERP, or a portfolio of purpose specific applications, or a hybrid approach and we will therefore discuss and evaluate each option based on merit and in the context of your functional, operational, and strategic requirements and objectives.

“We also provide advice on how to be successful with an ERP solution, where others may have failed. This approach sets out critical information regarding implementing ERP and is invaluable when considering it as a solution enabling you to make informed decisions.

“We facilitate workshops to set-out the available options, including associated risks, benefits, and outcomes and because a project like this will be business critical, there will also be workshops that focus on change and risk management, as well as looking at return on investment.

“In order to arrive at a recommendation, we examine functionality within each option, assessing your key challenges and opportunities in relation to business systems. Our detailed review would cover some of the following key areas.

  • Key reasons for change and for choosing a particular option/solution.
  • Customer access and portals and self service
  • Customer 360 view
  • Mobile workforce
  • Core business solutions
  • Asset management
  • General overview of each option/solution
  • Reduced dependency on suppliers
  • Access to management information and business intelligence
  • Flexibility of future strategy
  • Indicative cost of implementation
  • Ease of implementation
  • On-going support
  • Time to implement
  • Summary of options and key findings

“We then model the logic around business benefits and examine longer term outcomes-, short- and medium-term outcomes and interventions and outputs needed to achieve the outcomes that the organisation expects to achieve.”

What happens next?

“Generally a client takes a decision on whether to go-ahead.  When projects progress beyond the review stage we are then more often than not retained to provide support through the implementation planning and delivery phase to enable a connected and consistent approach.”

“Over recent months we’ve conducted this type of review for a number of clients with many now progressing through the implementation phase. 

“As we said right at the start of this article, there are many benefits of a review most notably the creation of a clear road map that enables effective planning of resources, identifying risks involved and understanding costs and timescales.  Ultimately this enables our clients to provides their board and executive teams with assurance that technology investments will be aligned to business strategy and provide measurable business outcomes and improve service delivery to customers.”

If you’re interested in finding out more about a Housing Management System review and how One Consulting can help, get in touch with Stephen.Repton@oneconsulting.uk