Together Housing Group Moves To Enterprise Mobile Working

The Together Housing Group has chosen enterprise mobile workforce software from leading mobile technology company 1st Touch. The software is currently being rolled out across the organisation.

The Together Housing Group comprises seven companies, each run by a skilled voluntary board made up of tenants, council representatives and independent experts. In total, it manages over 35,000 homes, employing more than 1,400 staff over a large geographical area in the North of England. The Together Group also produces a Value For Money (VFM) Self Assessment for their regulator (Homes and Communities Agency), setting out how it is achieving VFM in delivering its vision and objectives.

One of the areas where the Group felt it could drive Value For Money was in the introduction of mobile workforce technology. This would help mobile and customer-facing operatives by delivering all the role-specific information they need straight to their mobile devices. It was felt that once the technology was fully installed, it would deliver major efficiencies and significantly boost customer care.

With its multi-company structure, Together Housing Group felt that it would be best to identify a single mobile solution so that it could harmonise policies and procedures across the group. Having chosen an Aareon Housing Management System, Together Housing Group set up a small team to identify a mobile workforce system, suitable for use across the enterprise. They chose 1st Touch as it is the market leader and it already has a close integration with the Aareon back office system. There were also a number of strong reference sites nearby that Together Housing Group’s management visited to see 1st Touch in action. Following this review, the decision was taken to move to 1st Touch and to roll it out across the organisation department by department.

The first department to go live was responsive repairs with over 200 operatives. Subsequently, the system has been rolled out across the group to include: the Asset Team and the Incomes Team along with a pilot for Voids Management and Planning. In total there will ultimately be over 500 operatives using 1st Touch mobile technology.

Commenting on the decision to move to 1st Touch mobile Shane Hollingdrake, Systems Co-ordinator, of Together Housing Group said, “We chose 1st Touch as it is not only the market leader but we were able to check with local reference sites which were using the product quite happily. 1st Touch also has a proven integration to our Aareon Housing Management System.

“By introducing the technology across the business, we will drive value for money and derive some major benefits. For example, with our Responsive Repairs operation, trades operatives don’t have to return to base for job sheets or information as all the details can be sent to their device each morning. This saves time and travel costs. Operatives can also fit in more jobs per day, which means we are even more efficient. In fact the whole process is also much more transparent as we know when operatives are on their way or have finished a job. We also have an interface with Wolesey, the builders’ merchants, who can receive orders from the operative’s device and have the stock sent directly to a job.

“Similarly with Voids if, for example, an inspector feels there needs to be a new bath suite in a property then this can be ordered from their device and dispatched directly to the relevant address. Our Incomes team benefits too as 1 Touch sends through all the rent and payment information they need at their fingertips – so that can help customers and build customer profiles.”

Greg Johns CEO of 1st Touch welcomed Shane’s comments adding, “Together Housing Group has taken an exceptionally professional approach to the introduction of mobile technology. Rather than instigating a piecemeal programme of fitting mobile solutions in different departments as the opportunities arise, Together Housing Group has adopted a planned process aimed at optimising Value For Money. We look forward to working closely with them to ensure its gets the very best from its investment.”

1st Touch helped us to design and build a first rate system that will  not only transform what we do but add a whole new positive dimension to the customer experience we deliver.

Carole Galsworthy
Director of ICT

The 1st Touch solution ticked all the boxes in respect of our pre-defined criteria. In particular, we liked their approach to implementation and flexibility in delivering 
the solution

Claire Sockett
Systems Development Manager

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