Digital Innovation for Social Housing

CIH ScotlandDigital Innovation will feature at the upcoming CIH Scotland Housing Innovation & Technology Showcase, 27 October, Glasgow

As Housing Association budgets continue to be stretched, Managed Service and Solution Providers need to be finding and providing innovative ways to create the much needed cost savings. The concept of channel shift has been widely embraced over the last few years with organisations recognising the benefits of shifting more of their services into the digital domain.

On the one hand, given the financial challenges that all Associations are facing, it may appear counter intuitive to suggest that an investment in innovative technologies is the right course of action. The pragmatic argument is surely to ‘sweat the assets’ and get more out of what you already have.

The fact remains though that Housing Associations must do something to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of their organisations. A planned investment in a relevant and innovative technology stack can ensure that the least resource is used to get the job done, whilst making sure that the right job is being done in the first place.

Embracing digital innovation is an area that is essential for any forward thinking service provider. Housing officers, repairs personnel, engineers, in fact anyone who engages with the customer, needs to have the ability to access their relevant corporate information on a variety of devices.

One excellent example of an innovation can be seen with PanConnect. Tailor made for Social Housing, PanConnect is a unique mobile working solution, built upon the latest mobile technologies that is transforming staff resourcing, delivering significant cost savings and achieving unprecedented levels of customer engagement. With its offline working facility, the common issue of a data connection is completely mitigated for, allowing operatives to work effectively and efficiently.

Organisations seeking to deliver true multi-channel engagement can also leverage the power of the PanConnect Customer Portal and Tenant App, empowering tenants to manage their profiles and engage at a time and place that suits them, with a simple to use personalised interface.

No matter how great new technology and solutions are though, the key ingredient to success is the buy in of the staff. If they don’t want to use it, you will see very little benefit from any solution that is implemented. Very few people like change and part of the process is to support the staff, engage and consult, communicate properly and be open about the benefits they will see in their working practices. Castle’s experience in supplying PanConnect is that not only is it highly innovative, but users love it as it makes their job easier, and the level of satisfaction from tenants using it is extremely high.

By introducing new and innovative technologies that provide a single source of information, Housing Associations will be able to be more lean and focused, understanding what the customer wants and having the agility and flexibility to respond.

Written By Julian Tunstall, Housing Sector Lead, Castle Computer Services

This topic will be discussed in more detail during the session “Mobilising your workforce and empowering your tenants” at the CIH Scotland Housing Innovation & Technology Showcase – 27 October, Glasgow

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