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Abbeyfield Scotland launches new home management system during lockdown

New software HomeMaster allows staff to access work from anywhere, safely, and securely.

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During the last few months, organisations across the housing sector have been relying on technology in a way that no one could ever envisage. More crucially, it has made everyone realise how dependant organisations are on efficient access to information.

Abbeyfield Scotland provides secure quality accommodation, where older people can maintain their independence, said it quickly realised the pitfalls of relying on paper copies, filing cabinets, and trying to source information hidden in their shared drives. At the same time, members of staff had to move swiftly to home working at the beginning of the lockdown in March.

Before anyone had heard the terms 'Covid-19', 'lockdown,' or 'social distancing', Abbeyfield Scotland had already embarked on a journey to replace its outdated home management system. Abbeyfield Scotland appointed a company, Designer Software, to provide an alternative called HomeMaster. This new system would allow Abbeyfield to store its data securely and efficiently, enabling it to access the data from wherever staff were working, and improve knowledge of their customer needs. 

Nicola Thom was commissioned by Abbeyfield Scotland to implement the new system.

She said: "It was a daunting challenge to take on a project like this during lockdown, when I had only recently started working with the organisation. However, the collective input, knowledge, and professionalism from the team at Abbeyfield Scotland, coupled with the guidance and support from Designer Software, made the whole experience hugely rewarding.

"It’s great to see that Abbeyfield Scotland now has an integrated management tool that will serve to drive business improvements and operational efficiency as it becomes more embedded within the organisation."

As well as the usual challenges organisations face when making significant system changes, Abbeyfield Scotland had the extra pressure of doing so during a lockdown with office staff working remotely from home. 

As a result, face to face meetings with Designer Software, when configuring or switching over to the new system, were not allowed. Instead, workshops and training sessions were all conducted via Microsoft Teams, which allowed staff to explore the new system online, under the detailed guidance of their Project Manager. The organisation started to successfully use HomeMaster at the beginning of August 2020 and now aims to complete a second phase by early October.

Chris Prime, Project Manager at HomeMaster, said: "Working with Abbeyfield Scotland during the lockdown in implementing HomeMaster to drive the benefits afforded by our Web-Based hosted solution has been a highly rewarding experience.

"As an organisation, due to the pandemic, we have now implemented several HomeMaster solutions remotely. There is no doubt this new way of working delivers significant benefits and costs savings to our customers."

In phase two of implementation, Abbeyfield Scotland aims to go beyond using just the essential home management functions and hopes to fully utilise the management tools and efficiency that such a system can provide an organisation.

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