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SFHA’s Innovation and Future Thinking programme brings our members and other stakeholders together to collaboratively develop new ideas and solutions for the future.  Our purpose is a collective ambition to broaden and strengthen the sector’s contribution to social justice and inclusive growth. 

The programme aims to be: 

  • Inspirational – incorporating international and ‘out of sector’ inputs to promote radical thinking and fresh approaches 

  • Customer focused – using design-led approaches which put people at the centre 

  • Evidence-led – building ideas and solutions based on robust research and insight 

  • Sustainable – developing capacity for the housing sector to continue to innovate on an on-going basis. 

We have three key streams of work within the programme:   

Home of the Future 

Innovation in design, construction and maintenance will deliver improved quality and services andimportantly maintain affordable rents. The home of the future will be designed around the individual understanding the needs and desires and implement into development and property services. 

Our Aim: To influence the housing sector to future proof homes by working with the construction sector and its customers, hence reducing isolation, boosting  connectivity, centralising adaptations,ensuring “a place for everyone” and providing great homes for all.  

Service Transformation 

Digital technology and culture improvement will aid how housing associations are transforming andevolving.  Encouraging staff development to construct a more agile and dynamic team, be more responsive to customers' needs can strengthen user experience.  Digital change will transform the landscape of communication, operations and data. 

Our Aim: To demonstrate that understanding how customers and users experience services is key too creating and delivering best practice through involving residents in the service design and decision-making process.   Support and motivate organisations transforming services to digital approaches to ensure value, efficiency and effectiveness.  

Tackling Poverty and Demonstrating Impact 

Housing associations strive to support the lives of, and where needed build resilience in, residents and the communities that they serve.  We, as a sector, can join forces to provide the protection, careand opportunity to evade the hardship faced by many.  

Our Aim:  To showcase and provide tools and resources to measure the social housing sectorsimpact and use this to influence future plans and business strategies, and to secure new or continued funding and investment. . Work with the sector to improve services to enable increasedphysical, mental and financial wellbeing in communities 


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Focusing on project delivery during Covid-19 with Viewpoint Housing Association

Paul Sutherland, Head of Infor Sales at Kick ICT, shares his case study on the joint project with Viewpoint Housing Association.

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tags : Change / Digital / Innovation / Innovation and future thinking

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At Kick ICT, we have been delivering business solutions, network infrastructure and IT support to organisations for almost 40 years.

In recent weeks, we have been no different from any other organisation across the UK, having to adapt at a rapid pace to the mass transition to remote working.

We activated our business continuity plan in line with government lockdown measures as we sought to keep our colleagues and customers safe. As a cloud first, mobile business, we’re able to operate all our systems remotely which has been important as we look to ensure the continuity of services to our customers.

One example of delivering this continuity of service to customers is with SFHA member Viewpoint, a housing association and care home provider in Edinburgh, the Lothians and Fife. Viewpoint operates three care homes and over 1,400 housing properties and is a customer within our specialist housing division here at Kick, Castle Housing Solutions, where we look after the finance and ERP system requirements for 100+ housing sector organisations.

We agreed a project with Viewpoint to upgrade its existing finance applications from its current versions to the latest supported versions as well as introducing additional solution modules – all of which ensures it can deliver its financial and reporting needs in as effective a manner as possible.

In addition, we also agreed to move its finance solution and companion products into the Kick datacentre as part of this project.

The agreement to deliver the project was made during the first week of the government’s lockdown, and we were keen to ensure that these measures didn’t have any impact on our ability to deliver for Viewpoint.

We’re delighted to report that this project is progressing well and remains on time. Phase one was to build the required server environment in our datacentre, providing Viewpoint with a safe, secure and managed hosting solution. Phase two incorporated the deployment and onboarding of the system software into the datacentre. Crucially, this now gives secure remote access to its applications, a huge benefit in this uncertain time when physical office access is, and has potential to continue to be, interrupted.

Remote training and workshops are scheduled for May to July, and we’re looking forward to maintaining progress with the project team at Viewpoint across this time. We’ll be doing this with our established remote working tools that will enable us to keep communication lines open with messaging, video and phone calls used for the delivery of training, workshops and project management.

Paul Sutherland, Head of Infor Sales at Kick ICT, said: “We realised the importance of delivering our project with Viewpoint Housing Association within the committed timescales and were determined not to let Covid-19 have a detrimental impact here. 

"Using our expertise within the housing sector, we were able to identify the right solution and combine this with our managed IT services expertise to deploy in our datacentre environment, ensuring Viewpoint staff can work safely and securely from any location.

Importantly, collaborating remotely hasn’t been an issue. Our internal team within the Castle Housing Division and the project team at Viewpoint have embraced the remote working tools to the degree that lockdown measures haven’t slowed us down at all."

Mike Gibson, Head of Finance at Viewpoint, said: “We’re delighted to have been able to make excellent progress in the upgrade our finance applications and to do so using modern, safe and secure hosting facilities. 

"The Castle team within Kick have been in continual contact since the onset of Covid-19, and the lockdown measures, and we look forward to working with them remotely, or otherwise, in the weeks and months to come”.

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