One of southern England’s largest housing associations, Southern Housing provides more than 30,000 homes for over 77,000 people, including a mix of traditional social housing, shared ownership, affordable rent, private market rent, or outright sales. Southern Housing is also active in the community, organising activities and providing information and advice that improves customers lives and enhances the neighbourhoods they live in.
A legacy of disjointed development
‘Customer Dynamics’, as Dynamics 365 is known within Southern Housing Group, was first installed in 2016 to provide a 360-degree view of customer information. Soon after, however, support fell away when the original vendor was acquired by another company. Southern Housing then turned to contractors to support the system, but whilst this provided support for ‘business as usual’, lack of consistency in the way customisations were applied meant the existing system would not be a robust platform for the strategic improvements needed to underpin Southern Housing’s digital transformation.
The switch to a partner model
With a strategic commitment to the Microsoft technology stack, Southern Housing’s IT leadership team decided to change tack. No longer prepared to rely on contract staff, Southern Housing decided to seek a long-term relationship with a responsive, proactive Microsoft Dynamics partner to:
- Support Customer Dynamics in the interim.
- Work with Southern Housing’s IT leadership team to develop a strategic technology roadmap.
- Help business users specify new applications.
- Lead on technical architecture and best practice software design.
- Deliver new applications based pre-configured housing modules.
- Offer insight into Microsoft’s product roadmap highlighting enhancements that may impact Southern Housing’s digital transformation strategy.
Digital transformation ‘must-haves’
The digital transformation strategy highlighted a number of ‘must haves’:
- Applications must run in the Microsoft cloud.
- Applications must provide a single consistent user experience on any device.
- Applications should leverage the Microsoft technology stack.
- Applications must run against a common data model aligned to the evolving HACT standard.
- Data must be protected via a comprehensive security model aligned to GDPR principles.
- Applications must require minimal maintenance.
- The partner must provide responsive support.
A modular framework for an agile rollout
Esuasive’s fully integrated, modular Dynamics / Power Apps framework forms the basis of the rollout of new applications. Each module is pre-configured to support a specific housing business process and can be deployed standalone or as part of a larger release. Southern Housing is able to take advantage of the flexibility and agility this approach offers. The Group’s digital transformation strategy sets an evolving roadmap for incremental delivery. 2022/3 priorities include:
- Customer Feedback
- Income Management
- Resident involvement, Volunteering
- Anti-Social Behaviour
- Estate Management
- Gas Safety Monitoring Empty Homes
- Mutual Exchange
- General enquiries management
- Integration with payments systems
- Payments online