2.3.10 Housing Technology Conference
Reflections on my week in my world of social value, business need, data driven and digital impact
This week it was the 13th annual Housing Technology Conference at the Oxford Belfry Hotel.
First things first! It was great to get back to conference in person. In felt normal, there was no feeling of risk (famous last words) and from a social perspective, great to catch up with old colleagues and acquaintances.
In my opinion it’s the biggest and best of all the sector conferences that focus on technology and digital. There is an abundance of technology suppliers and good attendance from IT managers and digital transformation roles. Not enough is done to attract customer service and finance directors.
There was a virtual conference running alongside and I’d be interested to hear from those who attended via this channel on its sustainability for the future.
In terms of strategic issues. It doesn’t feel like there has been any great leap forward in the two years since we last met in March 2020. Many claimed that Covid-19 had accelerated agile working but there were many also suggesting that back office processes, document management and customer experience was now stuck in backlog projects.
I thought I observed three tribes:
- Housing management system tribes sub-categorised by supplier: Aareon, Civica, Capita, MIS. Castleton MRI were conspicuous in their absence. There’s not much movement between systems and many associations are awaiting upgrades and cloud versions to be implemented.
- Dynamics: the march is underway supported by Microsoft partners such as Crimson, Esuasive, iProperty, Red Kite CRM, TSG. Lots of good stories here mainly around matching systems to processes. The biggest challenge is in-house capability — will you always be reliant on a third party supplier, even for the simple stuff?
- The small system add-ons. There was a portfolio of really impressive small application providers who sit their app on top of the housing management system or Dynamics CRM. These tend to be aimed at customers and I think Optus and PanConnect are worth looking at. Ditto The Compliance Workbook in the health and safety space.
Best presentation of the two-days was last one. I was one of only 6 in the audience. A presentation from Scottish Federation of Housing Associations on Digital Maturity. Their findings apply equally to English associations, and I was impressed that the Scottish equivalent of NHF are on front foot on digital.
The keynote speaker for the opening session was @AndrewGrill, The Actionable Futurist. He gave us some predictions for the next year and for fun, if you want to know if you are a digital leader, ask yourself these six simple questions:
1. Are you active on LinkedIn?
2. Have you googled yourself in last six months?
3. Do you consume your news through paper or online?
4. Do you have an account with a branch-less bank (Monzo, Starling)?
5. Do you use two-factor authentication to access your online comms?
6. Do you own bitcoin?
I scored 4! What’s yours.