A Q&A with Ann Foy, new business team leader at MIS AMS.

This month we spoke to Ann Foy (New Business Team Leader) about the increased demand for a “no frills” version of a housing management system for the smaller housing authorities. These organisations have typically used multiple spreadsheets to keep track on their estates but are turning to technology to help them as they scale and are faced with new challenges.

What size of estate can ActiveH Lite manage?

At MIS AMS we deem an estate that has 1000 rentable assets or less to be a ‘Lite’ implementation – a no frills version of our full enterprise level ActiveH system. This is what we’re typically seeing demanded by the market too.

What do you think is driving the adoption of systems at the entry-level end of the market?

There are a growing number of smaller housing authorities who no longer want to rely on a spreadsheet to be compliant. A full housing management system would be a sledgehammer to crack a nut and prohibitively expensive at this level, but a lite version of the software provides them with the entry-level functionality they’re looking for at a reduced cost – and also delivers the ability to scale to the full system as they grow. Undoubtedly digitisation, scalability, compliance and the changes to the Universal Credit system are all playing a part in smaller organisations demanding the efficiencies the technology provides. They simply want to manage their assets in a better, more efficient way.

How is the market changing? 

With 1000 properties or less, a no frills solution opens itself up to use by other organisations such as smaller property and estate management companies as well as letting agencies and even student accommodation. A lite version of a housing management system can benefit many kinds of organisations and they are approaching us for help too – it’s not just housing associations that are looking for our help.

Why the change now? 

Grenfell has gone a long way to highlighting how not being able to demonstrate compliance may come back to haunt you. Being a smaller organisation in terms of the number of properties you manage doesn’t mean that you can’t be more efficient when it comes to compliance. Technology is faster at flagging up renewal dates when properties should be checked, certificates gained and installations replaced or maintained.  Efficiency is the number one requirement of the solution, removing the need for manual systems altogether. Everyone wants to be more compliant and more efficient and removing some of the human interaction with software allows a smaller amount of employees to do the value-added jobs face-to-face with tenants.

So what’s the difference in the lite version from a full housing management system?

As you’d expect, a no frills version has less functionality than the full housing management suite. Customers still receive the same high level of implementation, access to the technical forum, the service desk etc, but the lite version is pre-configured to deliver the functionality required for an organisation of 1000 assets or less. If the organisation grows and needs to scale the software accordingly, the features can simply be ‘unlocked’ to deliver 100% functionality. Which means that anyone buying MIS AMS ActiveH Lite is future proofed for growth. And where customers want us to, we can host the system too – which for smaller entry-level solutions, makes sense.