Greater than the sum of its parts

Housing management systems aren’t new – the functionality and efficiencies they can deliver to a housing association are well documented monitoring everything from rent and repairs, surveyors, maintenance, health & safety requirements and everything ‘front-office’ related to the ease of communicating with its tenants. However, at the centre of any great HMS system is the data contained within it, its accuracy and how it is used to best effect.

In an age when technology is burgeoning and there is an abundance of choice of applications to plug into that central data source, it becomes increasingly difficult to manage one concise set of information without duplicating across systems and being left wondering which is the most up to date. Housing associations that understand this will find that their HMS delivers much more than the basics – it becomes greater than the sum of its parts.

We’ve compiled the top benefits of working with an HMS that has just one database – one ‘version of the truth’ delivering the 360-degree view of its tenants.

  1. 1.      Dashboards

A dashboard will only ever be as accurate as the data from which it retrieves its information, but a user can see upon logging into the system the information he/she needs instantly. In the case of a housing association, that might be to view daily the tenants who may be in danger of falling into arrears that week so that they can be proactively contacted, and problems averted where possible. Having one view of the data and an integrated system means that information can be pulled from all areas of the HMS in real time. There is no longer a need to wait until the end of the month – decisions can be made much faster and prevention is always better than cure. Dashboards can also be linked to workflow, so they can deliver information in the sequence its required.

  1. 2.      Proactive arrears

Predicting behaviour promises to be a hugely influential and growth area in IT, and it has been given plenty of airtime when related to proactively managing tenant arrears. Much has been written about machine learning – where technology is able to see a pattern in previous behaviour to predict and action future behaviours. For housing associations ‘proactive arrears’ is already a growth area – the ability to look at source data and determine from historical rental accounts, customer data and seasonal trends if tenants are at high risk of falling into rental arrears – and putting in place the actions necessary to prevent that from happening sooner rather than later. This 360-degree view of the tenant, their financial situation, any seasonality that may have previously affected them and the property in which they live are all considered to proactively determine where problems may occur before they do.

  1. 3.     APIs

With a central HMS database at the core of a housing association, the more external or third-party applications that are ‘plugged into’ the data, the more interfaces that are required to make those applications ‘talk’ to the data. This creates another level of detail and opens up the data to compromises. Using an HMS that has a wide-reaching functionality across all departments and applications significantly reduces difficulties and ensures data isn’t compromised. It’s better to consider the functionality in your existing solution and put it to use where possible.

  1. 4.      Hosting

Technically, hosting isn’t part of a housing association’s HMS solution, but outsourcing hosting is typically growing in demand and if the opportunity to ask your HMS partner to host your system arises, seize it – it leaves your organisation to focus on the things that matter.

If you’d like more information please contact the New Business Team at ask@mis-ams.com.