Digital and Technology Services

 

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Digital transformation remains high on our agenda.

We are focused on becoming a digital-first organisation, able to respond rapidly to the ever-increasing pace of both external and business changes.

Leveraging technology to enable business improvement, particularly to maximise the benefits following our merger with Equity, has been a key focus. Key projects have included work around the planned implementation of Aareon QL as our new fully integrated Housing Management Solution, which includes new digital solutions for customers and colleagues; deployment of a data warehouse and Power BI as our core reporting platform; and improvements to our existing IT infrastructure, all of which will be key to our future business success.

Responding to workplace needs

The pandemic and subsequent move to remote working for a significant portion of the business accelerated the planned introduction of new technology and equipment to support our many colleagues and customers. This included the introduction of a fully hosted cloud-based telephony solution to enable our contact centre colleagues to work remotely, and the rapid company-wide implementation of video-conferencing technology.

Improving customer experience and digital inclusion

Another key focus has been projects to improve our customers’ experience, including:

  • The introduction of Chatbot technology – a digital assistant to support customers visiting our website with general queries;
  • A new Dynamic Repairs Scheduler which is helping to improve the management and scheduling of repairs appointments.

In order to assess the impact of planned customer digital inclusion work in two of our neighbourhoods, we worked with Manchester Business School MBA students to conduct a detailed customer research project. This assessed the potential economic impact and return on investment of potential digital innovation work for customers.

Research concluded that 53 per cent of those surveyed agreed that digital connectivity had a direct impact on their level of social engagement, with 47 per cent reporting increased levels of confidence and motivation.

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We have successfully achieved the UK Government-backed Cyber Essentials certification this year which endorses that we take cyber security very seriously. It demonstrates our commitment to UK Government cyber security initiatives while showing our customers and partners that we’re a company they can trust.

Our people are also paramount in improving our response to cyber security so we have increased our colleague training with Cyber Essentials a business wide mandatory training programme.

Other pages in Annual Report 2021