I remember in my days at MIS-AMS, at a NHF IT Conference at Olympia (remember those?), a man in tweed, spookily named Tweedie too, visited my stand. He explained he was involved in starting a new Social Housing ICT magazine and was I interested, as a supplier in getting involved.
Well I was, and for many years, sponsored the bottom inch of page one, a very specific piece of magazine real estate. There had been different attempts at bringing out a socialhousing ICT magazine before, with success of various degrees.
|Bennett Arron in action on identity theft|
Who would have thought that ten years on, the magazine ‘Housing Technology’ would still appear every other month and grow to around 36 pages per edition. Also that what started from small conference beginnings, would end up as probably the ‘one’, for anyone interested in socialhousing ICT, or improving it. What an achievement for George, Alastair and his wider team.
|Standing room only|
This years’ event was the largest, with nearly 500 attendees and more than one attendee commented to me, almost on the verge of being bigger than the Oxford Belfry venue, it’s been anchored in for the last few years.
|Who ate all the cakes? Decisions for Rob Fletcher of green Square Group|
If you were elsewhere last week, you missed a cracker. Opening keynotes both days were as ever really good. Comedian & comedy writer Bennett Arron (or Arron Bennett, as some call him) , author of the C4 documentary ‘How Not To Lose Your Identity’ was an outstanding start. I will be waiting for my signed copy of ‘Heard the One About Identity Theft?’.
The sessions had a great mix of the new and what’s just a wee bit over the horizon. It highlights that at last ‘Big Data’ might be just about becoming truly useful for UKhousing. Suppliers who can exploit it properly and RSLs/RPs who can successfully make it work for residents and customers, will be truly ahead of the curve. Those bog standard out of the box resident portals ‘going digital’, look pretty last century, compared with Alexa or similar answering your queries, or verifying you are safe in your supported accommodation, via your ‘Headless’ device.
|My annual portrait with Helen Rogers|
It was great to hear how some are pushing ahead with voice analytics for CRM, as many still haven’t properly leveraged just bog standard CRM yet. Full marks to the former and ‘Could Do Better’ to the latter. Transformation featured in many sessions, which is quite apt considering the pressures all housing organisations are experiencing with LHA caps, rent reductions, HB cuts and Universal Credit rollout. There are many ways to tackle it, depending on your budget and how long you want it to take, as was evident in a number of sessions.
|First to the bubbly|
My favourite session on transformation, had a touch of the ‘Alice's Adventures in Wonderland’, from 23k home Torus Housing Group. I was part of the transformation of getting nearly thirty ICT & service applications, boiled down to a core sourced from just three main suppliers. Transformation takes certain belief and a lot of imagination, as you dive down the ‘Rabbit Hole’ into the unknown. Make the wrong transformation choices and you may well encounter ‘The Pool Of Tears’. I was involved in that project and acted as a critical friend. It was hard work, but we carried everyone with us, who will be using all the systems once live. Do get in touch if you too need the Cheshire Cat to help with your transformation(!).
|Amelia, the customer services assistant at Enfield Council|
Well it was a roller-coaster event and I met and chatted to so many friends, people I have worked with, suppliers, business change managers and a number of directors. A great pinnacle of a decade, for Housing Technology and I for one will be looking forward to #HousingTech2018.
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The Stone Roses - Ten Storey Love Song.
(c) Tony Smith, Acutance Consulting www.acutanceconsulting.co.uk 07854-655009
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