PowerObjects has several housing industry customers in the UK, and in the course of working with these clients and really investing in the industry, one of the most interesting things we’ve learned is that the housing channel is largely non-profit. In fact, there are two primary subsets in the industry:
- Not-for-profit organizations that own, let, and manage rental housing. As non-profit organizations, revenue acquired through rent is reinvested into the acquisition and maintenance of property.
- Housing associations (similar to a homeowners’ association in the US) that may or may not be registered charities. They also may or may not be geared towards assisting particular social groups with accommodation – for instance, elderly or disabled persons. Rent may or may not be subsidized to varying degrees.
Property managers in the UK are classified by the industry as “registered social landlords,” along with YMCA hostels and housing cooperatives. And accommodations owned by housing associations are known as “social housing,” a loose term that incorporates government-owned council housing and other affordable accommodations. In England alone, there are 1,500 housing associations providing 2 million homes for 5 million residents overseen by more than 30,000 volunteer committee members.
These organizations face a number of challenges, primarily…
- Current Systems are traditional in design, inflexible, and cannot be changed easily and cost-effectively to support the business.
- High Total Cost of Ownership (TCO), as the costs associated with multiple, bespoke legacy systems does not reflect true value.
- No single source of data with inadequate analytics and reporting – not user-friendly or used for decision-making.
Those challenges sound universally applicable to all industries. However, they are particularly relevant in housing because in the majority of markets, the urgent need for additional housing services results in fast-paced technology growth and increasing complexity of internal processes. Legacy systems are simply ill-equipped to be sustainable amid such growth.
Property managers are managing the rapid growth and overcoming the mounting challenges with a thoughtful approach to technology enhancements. They are focusing on customer/tenant demands, integration of front office functions with middle and back office, and automation of low-cost, high-impact services. And above all, they are moving everything to the cloud.
Time and again, businesses in this industry are turning to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and the full suite of Business Applications designed to support and enhance the solution. Throw in a Dynamics 365 accelerator built specifically for property managers, and there’s simply no match in the industry.