How Housing Associations can improve the tenant experience with cloud technology

How Housing Associations can improve the tenant experience with cloud technology

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Housing Associations are under constant pressure to deliver for their tenants and keep costs down, and traditional ways of working and storing information are no longer fit for purpose.

Cloud technology gives housing providers the ability to keep in constant contact with tenants and the flexibility to adapt quickly – vital in a sector where frequent changes to legislation require a rapid response.

Here are some benefits of moving operations to the cloud:

Lower costs

Housing Associations are under pressure to deliver more for less, with the requirement to meet an annual 1% rent reduction. So, technology investment may be low down on the list of priorities.

Having a traditional IT infrastructure involves purchasing hardware, software, a team of people, and most importantly, costly updates. But thanks to cloud, the housing sector have efficient, secure means to modernise customer service and tenant engagement whilst delivering value for money.

And there’s no need to pay upfront for features that they neither need nor want – many cloud-computing services are pay as you go. Think of it as a subscription service for your business-critical IT needs.

Cloud services are scalable and can flex with the size of a team, so seasonal peaks and dips in demand become less challenging. For businesses requiring responsiveness and working within budget restrictions, the flexibility of the cloud is a huge advantage.

Enable a remote workforce

Taking advantage of the cloud makes remote working seamless. For Housing Associations, this reduces the need for multiple physical office locations, which can be an added financial burden.

Having a remote working (or hybrid) workforce enables staff to be more connected with tenants, councils and contractors. Less time will be spent on mundane transactions, and more focus can be made on speaking directly with customers.

A cloud-based collaboration tool such as Microsoft Teams is a cost-effective way to enable remote working and encourage seamless collaboration across your business. With the addition of a third-party tool like Connect4Teams, Teams can be adapted into a fully functional enterprise voice, unified communications solution.

Enhanced customer service

Investing in a modern cloud telephony system such as VoIP (Voice over IP) will help keep staff and customers connected, regardless of physical location, reduce missed calls and encourage productivity through a modern, effective communications system.

Communication is key and tenants – especially younger ones – will want to make contact via their preferred channel of choice, whether that’s WhatsApp, SMS, phone, email or social media. With an omni-channel cloud contact centre environment, these can all be managed by staff through a single application. Better yet, because the technology is cloud-based, staff can easily receive and respond to enquiries across any location or device.

One of the most significant benefits that the cloud has in the housing association sector is that customers can receive a better all-round service – with advice and help available 24/7 if you need it to be. Moving operations to the cloud will allow most processes to be completed online too, meaning customers have no restrictions on when they can resolve their issues or speak with the correct person.

Security

Housing Associations store, access and share sensitive personal data to provide their services. It is vital that systems meet the highest security and compliance standards, while also ensuring easy access for staff who need it.

Microsoft 365 provides a range of data security tools such as Multi-Factor Authentication, Conditional Access and Microsoft Cloud App Security, which all work together to guarantee the security of your users and data, across devices and locations.

Hybrid cloud

Some housing providers may not be keen to move all systems and data across to a public cloud, which is why hybrid clouds (a mix of both public and private-based clouds) remain popular. You can use the private cloud to process information securely and the public cloud for hosting publicly available data and share large amounts of resources. This way, your business can enjoy faster data transfer whilst having increased privacy for the areas needed.

With so many Housing Associations now unable to justify the cost of old technology and the increased need to keep up with customer expectations, embracing cloud technology is an ideal solution, providing the scalability and flexibility needed for companies that are constantly evolving.

If you'd like to speak to us about how the cloud can transform the way your business operates, get in touch with our experts on 03330 151 160.