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News : Moat Housing Lays Foundation for Future Agility
Dartford, UK, Aug 11, 2016 -- Housing associations are facing a difficult future. As the Government reduces their grants and forces annual 1% rent reductions for the next four years they are still under pressure to fund new building developments. They have to develop new financial models, find new efficiencies and sharpen their commercial operations to attract private finance.
The only certainty housing associations can be sure about is that their business will continue to change over the coming years, and they need the skills and flexibility to respond to change - elements of which they simply cannot foresee. This is going to require a robust and flexible digital infrastructure to enable the changes in how they approach their business.
Moat, a housing association for the south-east, has placed its faith in Microsoft Dynamics CRM as the foundation for that flexibility. It has already registered benefits for its customers and believes it can achieve plenty more by harnessing the platform’s capabilities.
The change began when Moat went to the market to replace its old housing management system.
"Part of it was around modernising systems in general, and part in seeing that our business model was changing and that we needed systems enabling flexibility and agility," says Daniel Johnson, director of information systems at Moat. "We wanted the flexibility to develop a system that could support us whatever we decided to do in the future, to have something that could grow as we grow."
Initially Moat looked at obtaining a new housing management system with a CRM element, aiming to find some extra benefits over the legacy systems. However, it shied away from this approach on realising that any major changes would require negotiations with the supplier and probably a heavy bill. Then it saw that the capabilities of Dynamics had increased, and that Dynamics could provide a versatile toolbox to develop new services.
"Esuasive had experience of our business and were very collaborative in the installation process," says Johnson. "We ran it as an agile project that enabled us to understand some of requirements, develop it, and start showing it back to the business early on, allowing them to shape the project. That worked really well.
"There were some challenges around how we organised the infrastructure, because of our requirements around mobile working in the future, but Esuasive were very supportive and helped us iron things out for the go live."
Moat is also looking at the potential for integration with other Microsoft systems. It is using SharePoint for document management and SQL Server for database management, and Johnson says there can be benefits in connecting both of these to Dynamics. He is planning to explore the possibilities over the coming months.
Posted by Veronica Silva Cusi, news correspondent
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Published: Thursday, August 11, 2016