Orbit Housing Group

Orbit Housing Group (Diverse 40,000 unit Housing Group)



Orbit Housing Group is one of the leading, large and diverse housing & service providers in the UK. In addition to traditional general and sheltered social housing the group are innovators in low cost homeownership and the provision of care services. As at summer 2009, OHG, which includes East, South and Heart of England regions, manages nearly 40,000 rentable units. Ongoing expansion through continuous development and acquisition requires at its core a flexible and scalable IT platform to support the 1,800 staff working within Orbit group companies. MIS Active Management Systems (MIS-AMS) has worked with Orbit since 1996.


The Objective

Consolidate procedures across the group on a single modern, scalable housing management system. Provide efficiency and financial benefits across the organisation, while increasing customer satisfaction with services provided. Exceed standard expectations of our customers and achieve customer excellence (ACE). Management of the project A structured PRINCE2 methodology was used throughout. A project board was established with a project sponsor put in place to represent the interests of the business, a project manager to focus fully on project delivery, a dedicated ACE project team and a senior MIS-AMS defined team. The project had tight timescales from the start, there were just a hundred days between signing of contract in December 2008 and implementation of phase one. In light of this, project meetings with MIS were held fortnightly. One of the key aspects was that the project was business owned rather than just IT led. It was felt this was one of the cornerstones of the successful implementation. Phases of the project were all delivered on time and within budget. Phase one consisting of workflow, CRM, Repairs, BI Reporting and Rents went live in February 2009. Phase two saw the conversion of an additional 8,900 units from Orbit Heart of England and the addition of the Contractors in the first week of April 2009. Outcomes were reviewed against business objectives six weeks after go-live to determine if requirements were; in place (green), in place but not switched on (amber) or not in place (red). ActiveH from MIS consistently scored above 95%. Orbit Group has an ongoing process to evaluate whether the measurable outcomes improve as the system is used. Internal user groups have been formed for each module to continuously improve processes and further the functionality of the system. The user groups also advise the high-level ICT strategy group on necessary projects and developments with the aim of ensuring that the system does not standstill.


What does the future hold?

Orbit Group has plans to spread use of CRM throughout all 300 customer facing staff in order to log every contact event with customers. SMS texting is being implemented for contact with residents. This includes reminding customers when repair and court appointments are due and providing interactive services to record ASB incidents or request an account balance etc. Documotive EDM with its extensive links throughout ActiveH and OpenAccounts is being implemented. Additional ActiveH MWS mobile working modules are being trialled.


Customer Comments

Lisa Jackson, Housing Business Analyst:
“Working with MIS on the ActiveH implementation felt like a true partnership. Both parties worked seamlessly together to coordinate all efforts including data conversion of 8,900 additional assets and accounts. It was easy to feel we were MIS’s only customer; however we are now aware that another five major projects were concurrent at that time. We could contact our MIS project manager at any time and we had regular contact with the MD, which was refreshing. Their mission statement of “Big enough to deliver, small enough to care” rang true in this project. MIS were supportive in helping us find effective resolution to any issues. They always provided options, but were clear and open why from those options they’d recommend one above others. We continue to have an excellent relationship with our implementers and the support staff at MIS. Our long history with MIS helps, but it is our perception from our contact with other organisations and our experiences at the user groups that MIS have good relationships with all their customers. Orbit will be hosting the next user groups in March 2010″.

Anne Turner, Group Finance and Resources Director:
“I have to say that during the ActiveH implementation MIS more often than not went the extra mile. Tony Smith (MIS-AMS MD) and his team took great pride in helping us get the most from the new system and providing the best for us. The Orbit Group is assured that we will have a long term and strategic partnership with MIS. As a result, I am happy to recommend this system to other housing business┬áthat are focussed on customer service”.

Jason Coyne, Founder, The Best Practice Group:
“This project go-live was uniquely delivered on time, often a rarity rather than the norm elsewhere in the sector”