In our previous blogs we first took a look at the vision for the Digital Future of Social Housing and then we reviewed those Factors That Are Hampering Digital Transformation. In this final blog in the series, we take a look at what the sector believes to be their priorities in accelerating their digital journey.
In compiling our special report on The Future of Technology Within Social Housing, we spoke to a number of IT and Executive leaders within the sector. There were a number of recurring themes related that pointed to some key steps that should be taken to embrace technology, create the digital future and instigate transformational change across the entire organisation.
Transforming The Role of IT
There is definitely a need for both the perception and the role of IT to change in organisations with a greater focus on the ‘digital’ agenda rather than a traditional IT management ‘cost centre.’ It is believed that IT needs a mantra of ‘digital first.’ They have to work closely with the business to identify disjointed processes and develop ways where a digital thread can connect teams and information together to drive far more efficient ways of working.
The IT teams need to be focused on creating a foundation infrastructure that is agile and fit for purpose and that will enable their organisation to change at pace in adopting new technology that can have a transformational impact.
Accelerate Cloud & SaaS Adoption
Whereas many social housing organisations have already adopted a ‘cloud first’ approach, the migration to cloud needs to accelerate. There is a need for a clear plan for cloud that breaks the perpetual cycle of ‘capital purchase’ and moves organisations forward to a scalable and flexible utility model where they purchase IT infrastructure on a consumption model.
This plan is likely to embrace a hybrid cloud model where some legacy systems are migrated to private cloud environments while the public cloud is utilised for new applications and to provide additional capacity and capabilities.
Core Infrastructure & Security
The move to cloud combined with the fact that post pandemic we will have a more virtualised workforce, is driving the need to address core network infrastructure to ensure that digital services can be delivered where they are needed.
Social Housing organisations will need to embrace the new software-defined world where services are more agile and can adapt faster to required change. SD-WAN will play a key role in linking decentralised functions and cloud-managed wireless networks will enable estates to be connected to drive digital inclusion and support field-based workers.
Embracing Strategic Partnerships
There was recognition from all those spoken to that it is not possible to drive the rapid change needed alone. Forging strategic partnerships with managed service providers is key in order to inject specific expertise when required and augmenting often small internal teams with the skills and capacity to execute change programmes.
Having the right partners in place is key and these partners need to have invested the time to truly understand the business and bring with them the important experience of working in the Social Housing sector.
Placing ‘Agility’ First
We have learned a significant lesson in 2020 and that is the need to be agile. What has been proven over a roller-coaster of a year is that rapid change can happen, processes that were believed to be ingrained in the organisation can be adapted at pace and new more efficient ways of working can be adopted.
The level of agility that has been shown in 2020 should not be lost when our world re-emerges from the pandemic. We should continue to have the same level of ambition and match this with an appetite to change and maximise technology to enable us to be agile.
To gain more insight from our research, we would encourage you to download the full copy of our special report: ‘The Future of Technology in Social Housing’.