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SFHA Digital and IT Network Roundup August 2023

At the end of August, the Digital and IT network met up virtually to discuss some key considerations

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By Gary Dickson, SFHA Digital and Design Manager

At the end of August, the Digital and IT network met up virtually to discuss some key considerations and priorities that SFHA members currently had. 
I’ve include a short summary of what was discussed below. 
Update from SFHA  
Update from myself, which included a slide deck that can be viewed here. For my section, I spoke about the following information: 

  • Based on network survey results the session included topics for housing management systems, cost savings, and customer engagement 

  • Cyber Incident Response Planning guidance and template launched, SFHA members can view it here. The template is a useful resource and exercise to complete, allowing organisations to have a robust action plan in place if a cyber attack/breach occurs. 

  • Development of SFHA website: We are now underway with the development of our new website which will place a much higher focus on online engagement and interactive functionality for users. We are looking for members who would be interested in finding out more about the process and to help test the UX experience. Email me if you are interested! 

  • Digital Readiness tool: We are beginning the process of creating a new digital maturity benchmarking tool for members, moving past digital transformation and considering what is next. Volunteers to join member focus group welcome – we will be working internationally with counterparts in the Netherlands too! Note your interest. 

  • IT resources for housing: Recently I have had many conversations focused on how housing associations' IT resources are struggling to meet the demands of expanding digital and IT change. Understanding and finding the right resources to support these changes are becoming an issue, to help, SFHA will be collecting information to better understand current trends and share the findings with the members. SFHA Pulse survey will be shared with the network. 

HomeMaster – HMS insights and trends 

Ian Thompson, CEO at HomeMaster came along to give a short update on current trends and to discuss some of the reasons why they have seen a sharp rise in new customers in the Scottish HA market. Their current system is a cloud-based product that allows users to set up and use the system quickly and allow access from most places. HomeMaster is working from a model that means there are continual upgrades to the functionality and system with no cost to the user. Features lately that have been updated were their finance service and ARC returns reporting.  
They are now looking to the future and plan to use Microsoft developing platforms to build a truly web-based experience that will provide even more scalability for clients. Ian urged members to push back and demand more from current providers as many are failing to meet the needs of their users, with several having poor future improvement roadmaps. 
Due to the high level of interest and questions myself and Ian will be arranging a demo webinar session for members. Date tbc. 
Vodafone Business – update on M365 license costs 
Alastair Redpath, Andy Christie, and Michael O’Brien joined us from Vodafone Business to share information on two areas that Housing Associations in Scotland have been taking advantage of to make savings.  
Firstly, the Single Supplier Framework renewal was confirmed. This framework allows charities and non-profits through the Scottish Government framework to get the most competitive pricing for mobile tariffs and devices. Vodafone confirmed a number of SFHA members have made real value for money savings. The tariff costs are all documented in their slide deck here. There are also additional options and services around Lone Working that might be of interest to members. 
Secondly, Andy spoke about the Microsoft Pricing and the agreement that Vodafone has in place highlighting discounted costs within their presentation. He also spoke about the business premium application spread and the benefits.  
If any members are interested or reviewing prices you can contact mobilescotland@vodafone.co.uk for more information. 
Content Guru – Contact Centre services 
Finally, we heard from David Hogg from Content Guru spoke about the Vodafone Storm product, a CCaaS (Contact Centre as a Service) product that they are launching with Wheatley Group.  
Highlighting some of the current issues around how tenants have different expectations of their digital experiences engaging and communicating with their providers. Channel shifts and service levels play a critical factor. The service is flexible and scalable depending on organisations' problems/solutions, cloud-based and integrates with most other systems.  
You can view the slide deck here. We have also just confirmed a webinar date for a live demo so members can fully understand the service called ‘Transforming Communications with Tenants’, book your place here. 
More information 
If you would like any more information on the above, please get in touch.  
Gary Dickson 
Digital & Design Manager 
Email: gdickson@sfha.co.uk 
Mobile: 07464543161 

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