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The Chartered Institute of Housing is the independent voice for housing and the home of professional standards

How IT can improve efficiency in housing organisations


Pete Brown, head of IT at PCMS Group, tells us why he is encouraging the housing sector to embrace the opportunities to improve efficiency in and out of the workplace with technology.

We’re supporting Get Online Week – a campaign organised by the Online Centres Foundation (OCF) that aims to encourage people to maximise the benefits of using the web.

Pete from PCMS Group talks about how IT continues to evolve at pace and how the latest consumer technologies can also offer housing professionals the key to improved efficiency.

“There are two important areas that housing associations can embrace to deliver improved efficiency and accuracy as well as cost-savings and those are automation and technology. For instance, manually processing reports or bills for all tenants across an association can be laborious and time intensive. Add to this the number of processes that are involved in the day-to-day running of an association - which can factor into the hundreds -  automation offers many benefits and will significantly reduce what’s known as operational wastage.

Being online offers many improved efficiencies, not just from the association’s perspective, but also for its tenants. Checking bank balances and paying bills online are now commonplace and housing associations can offer these services too. What’s important is to understand the digital diversity of tenants and therefore be able to maximise the technology available on the market to improve efficiency where possible. That doesn’t mean compromising on offering residents information via post or paying of bills at the post office, but it does mean that in many instances information can be sent via text message or email for those who would prefer it this way. 

Out in the field, technology can also help improve efficiency. The growing use of hand-held devices – such as handheld devices – by businesses is helping to drive up productivity. Rather than having to write up and submit reports or forms once back in the office, forms can be filled in via a device and submitted electronically – often on site – so the hours given over to paperwork can now be spent much more productively. Such devices are widespread across maintenance roles, but if not yet embraced they offer housing associations much better efficiency as well as accuracy and real time updates.

These are just some brief and basic highlights of the role technology can play in the day-to-day running of housing associations. Greater automation and out of office productivity are all going to yield important savings – be it labour, energy or paper."

Follow @PCMSGroup on Twitter

Read our five ways the sector can improve with the internet blog for more ideas on how you can keep up-to-date with the latest technology in the housing sector.

Follow the Get Online Week campaign on Twitter #GOLW12

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