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Social Housing.

The Key IT Challenges In The Social Housing Sector – A Voyager Perspective

Introduction

The social housing sector is continually facing new challenges as the market is continually evolving with increased regulations, housing shortages, changing working practices and tenant demands all having an impact on the way they need operate toady and in the future. This in turn creates new IT Challenges with the need to provide seamless and integrated services in a more cost-effective way.

Historically IT systems have been deployed on an application-by-application basis with minimum integration between them thus creating silos within the business – both in terms of technology and different operational departments. Becoming a proactive and responsive housing provider requires a different approach which is often constrained by legacy environments.

The Key IT challenges which need to be addressed are:

  • Integrating legacy infrastructures
  • Addressing changing working practices
  • Providing seamless and proactive tenant access
  • Maintaining the highest level of security

Legacy Infrastructures

Seamless access to critical information is more relevant than ever before. Benefits include:

  • Allowing teams to work and collaborate together with common access to relevant information
  • Empowering the “knowledge worker” regardless of location or access device
  • Improved tenant service and experience with dramatically reduced resolution times

Providing an integrated communication platform across all systems and user departments can greatly improve operational efficiency and service levels whilst delivering economies of scale for the future.

Working Practices

Flexible working practices are becoming the norm and organisations need to adapt to ensure that they retain and attract the best employees whilst providing the necessary tools for the roles they undertake.

Solutions need to be provided that allows any-time, any-place, any-device access for employees to maximise their productivity. Equally access needs to be provided to key information required for them to be truly effective and productive.

Implementing a collaboration-based single device approach which supports voice, video, messaging and presence information allows the business to cater for the agile worker whilst improving levels of communication internally and externally

Optimised Tenant Access

The communication channels on which we rely continue to evolve and multiply. In our personal lives we interact with family and friends through an increasing number of media types - telephone, video, email, chat as well as a growing selection of social media, forums and mobile apps, all dominating our lives. Tenants expect that they will have the same channel choice when interacting with their housing provider.

Solutions need to be deployed that deliver access across all media types, channels and devices and which:

  • Provide self-service options but with a seamless transition to assisted service if required
  • Provide different access depending on user type and preferences
  • Provide ability to move between channels without disruption to provide a joined-up experience
  • Provide agents with a seamless and integrated flow of information regardless of contact method

Other considerations for the design and implementation teams are:

  • Whether existing communication systems can be upgraded and enhanced or whether new platforms and applications are required to meet evolving needs.
  • Whether a solution should be deployed on-premise, as a cloud service or as a hybrid.

Secure Environments

In creating a collaborative communications environment security is a key consideration. Three areas of security need to be embedded within any solution:

  • Secure Infrastructure – this includes firewalls, anti-virus software, detection and filtering software. 
  • Secure Access - allows only approved individuals and devices to use the communications network and its applications
  • Secure Content - regardless of format - audio, visual or text 

A secure infrastructure needs to be designed, deployed and maintained as an integral part of any collaborative communications strategy.

The Voyager Approach

Voyager has built up years of experience in understanding the needs of the Social Housing Sector and work with IT and Customer Service Managers to:

  • Understand their unique challenges
  • Develop roadmaps to achieve the final outcomes required including:
    • Network Infrastructures
    • Collaborative Communications
    • Security
  • Evaluate the best technology fit solutions – Voyager has strong working relationships with Cisco, Microsoft, Shoretel, Sipsynergy, Enghouse, IPFX, Fortinet, Bluecoat
  • Evaluate the best service solution – On-premise, Cloud, Hybrid or Managed
  • Review CAPEX and OPEX options to deliver the best return on investment

What some of our clients say

Herefordshire Housing

“We selected Voyager Networks as our preferred partner for Herefordshire Housing because they fully understood our requirements from the outset. They spent time listening to our needs, understanding our budgets and delivered the solution against those requirements. Voyager Networks has demonstrated an in-depth knowledge of our requirements and delivered solutions which have greatly benefited the business. We regard the people in Voyager as true work colleagues as they interact with us on a daily basis to help deliver a first class IT service. We look to Voyager Networks to deliver creative, best-of-breed solutions for all our IT Requirements”.

Adam Huselbee, ICT Manager.

Bron Afon Community Housing

“We gave Voyager just 7 weeks to come up with a plan and implement the upgrades for us. 7 weeks later they successfully delivered. From start to finish the staff we dealt with were outstanding. The technical consultancy resource was exceptional, not only delivering the solution right first time but keeping us engaged and informed throughout the process. The Project Manager combined faultless management with a friendly and involving approach. Transitioning into the operational environment was made really easy due to friendly and early engagement from a team who clearly know their business inside out. It pains me to say it but I cannot think of a single thing that Voyager could improve on and it is clearly evident that the people we dealt with are at the top of their game”.

Ian Taylor, Head of ICT

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