Making sure all your software systems can talk to each other really makes life – and business – simpler, writes Laura Matthews. That’s why a common data standard is crucial
THE basics of housing are unlikely to change as the goal of providing safe, affordable homes for everyone is not easily achieved.
The UK homelessness charity, Shelter, estimates there are 320,000 homeless people.
However, the technology behind developing, allocating and managing all these properties, tenants and their needs is changing.
It’s not just about creating a great website and digitising communication channels.
Technology can be embraced to improve the way we work from initial land appraisal for development, financial viability reports for Board approval, project management of build, and then finally selling or allocating the finished units.
Technology can be harnessed to improve efficiency and reduce risk throughout your development process.
This is great, except you can often be left with numerous specialist pieces of software that don’t talk to each other. That leads to data duplication, or worse, conflicting data in different applications.
The HACT data standard is raising the bar for data in the housing sector, by ensuring software tools use a common, agreed, terminology.
Integration is the linking of different software packages together so the system is able to provide a broader function while maintaining the individual specialities.
Using software platforms that integrate enables them to work together as a whole, providing a holistic, harmonised view, with all data aligned.
This overcomes issues that arise from holding duplicated data. This, in turn, leads to more reliable results and better credibility for individuals and teams within the organisation.
The opportunities created through smart systems centralising the data not only saves time and is more efficient, but can improve the trust and the integrity of the information held as it is more up to date and accurate.
For example, if your development appraisal software integrates with your project management application, which in turn integrates with your sales process management software, this builds a complete picture.
The process doesn’t stop there: information from housing management systems and finance systems can be linked, eliminating data entry and improving reliability.
Ultimately, systems integration improves productivity, communication and collaboration between departments and of course quality of data. All of these benefits ultimately reduce the organisation’s costs and help deliver safe affordable homes for everyone.
Laura Matthews is marketing manager at Shelton Development Services