Saffron Housing Trust manages over 6,000 homes across Norfolk and Suffolk, including affordable homes for those who cannot afford to rent or buy in the open market and specialist homes for older or vulnerable adults.
A Positive Future for Saffron
In 2019 Saffron embarked on a whole organisation transformation programme, ‘Positive Future’, to provide staff with the systems, knowledge and skills to deliver on its aims.
From the outset, Saffron recognised that digital transformation would be a key enabler on this journey. A new system, cloud based and compatible with Saffron’s Microsoft desktop architecture, would be needed. And crucially, one that could provide a single view across customer, property and tenancy data, accessible on desktop and mobile device.
Extending Microsoft’s technology for the housing sector
To ensure flexibility, Saffron decided that the new system must be based on Microsoft Dynamics. But with no internal Dynamics skills, limited IT resources and a challenging transformation timetable, a partner would be needed.
To make the choice, Saffron evaluated a number of potential partners, looking for three things: experience in the sector, proven technical skills, and a fully or partly pre-built solution that would accelerate ‘time to value’. After exhaustive evaluation, Esuasive’s housing solution was selected. Esuasive’s solution extends the out-of-the-box capabilities of Dynamics 365 with more than a hundred additional entities and over one thousand additional fields to provide a complete, modular, integrated Dynamics-based HMS replacement. But importantly, the system is open, enabling housing association’s internal IT teams and business users to customise and extend the system to meet their own specific requirements.
Saffron’s ‘Big Bang’
Saffron decided that a ‘big bang’ implementation – going live with customer services, asset management, responsive repairs and tenancy management functionality, and moving rents, payments and service charges processing onto the new system, in one go – would be desirable, provided risks could be managed. This would avoid having to create and maintain multiple temporary legacy system interfaces.
Together, Esuasive and Saffron’s project managers planned the implementation to ensure a smooth transition from legacy systems to the new Dynamics platform. Additional reassurance was provided in the form of Esuasive hypercare – immediate desk-side response to post-implementation issues. The go-live, compressed into a four-day weekend, went without a hitch.
A platform for service innovation
With core business processes now migrated across to Dynamics, Saffron has the time and space to focus on process improvement and service innovation, confident that the new system can be easily and quickly modified or extended as needed.