Social Housing in 2020 – Using technology as an enabler to connect those who are helping others
Over the years, the social housing industry has faced significant challenges. In 2017, the fire at Grenfell Tower in North Kensington shook the sector, causing a sudden increase in repairs and maintenance; due to new requirements being issued to meet improved standards that would mitigate future failures. These new standards, brought in to help reduce risk of such failures in future and save more lives, forced overnight pressures to increase regulations that ensured consistent data management was upheld. There was also a knock-on effect of delayed cashflow from Universal Credit and a huge demand on social housing to rehome the many thousands of people and families displaced.
Fast forward 2 years, and the COVID-19 global pandemic has introduced further strain, with thousands of people living with employment uncertainty, creating a knock-on effect when it comes to keeping a roof over their head. The economic impact is already being felt and with the formal government announcement last week that the UK is in recession, these challenges are only going to become harder to address.
There is no magic wand to eradicate these challenges, however overwhelming they are to deal with. The economic forecast is likely to further deteriorate over the coming months, but it is important to remember the core aspect of social housing is to provide a sound roof for people and families in need. This is where the right technology can be used to ensure those tenants get the best possible service, at possibly the hardest point in their lives.
Whilst technology enabling digital transformation may not be able to directly address those issues facing some of the housing associations, they can certainly assist. A managed IT infrastructure can ensure a solid and consistent service, connecting businesses and tenants, providing the ability to offer assistance to those requiring help, whilst a multi-channel self-service portal can widen that communication reach with tenants to 24/7, 365 days a year.
Flexible hybrid cloud platforms often offer the best value for money vs the traditional on-premise private cloud solutions, giving the Not-for-Profit sector the budgeting control, it needs. A hybrid cloud solution can offer both a service that is fit for purpose based on applications usage, and flexible deployment options and infrastructure management at an affordable price. It gives social housing organisations the freedom to focus their time and effort on what they do best – helping people.
The right unified communications solution can enable tenants to be housed faster, as social housing employees are able to cut down long arduous processes and smooth out kinks in old, time-consuming and dysfunctional processes. Being able to solve a query quickly with virtual teams nationally, through video and instant message capability, speeds up time-to-resolution; meaning families can start making their house a home sooner.
Security solutions designed to help protect data and organisations from malicious attacks needn’t be heavy on the purse, but cyber criminals are getting increasingly clever with their targeting strategies. Having a solution in place to identify threats and cyber-attacks ensures infrastructure and people are protected – this also reduces the risk of sensitive and secure data of tenants falling into the wrong hands.
Despite the current climate, there are many things for the social housing industry to be positive about, including the transformative technology solutions and providers available to support them and help improve experiences. We’re here as a converged managed service provider to make the challenges easier. We offer a single supplier approach to give you greater control of your IT estate, whilst offering solutions to not only help you digitally transform and be ready for the future, but to also enable a greater service for tenants, whilst maintaining the required level of governance.