The Together Housing Group has chosen enterprise mobile workforce software from leading mobile technology company 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com). 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 1st 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.”
Note to Editors: About 1st Touch (www.1sttouch.com)
Southampton based 1st Touch, a subsidiary of Aareon AG (www.aareon.com), has enabled dozens of field workforce-based organisations to embrace new mobile technologies and so achieve significant savings, greater productivity and more cost-effective use of resources. 1st Touch Mobile delivers clear and unique benefits: These include the system’s acclaimed ‘Smart Airtime’ feature where ‘airtime’ is minimised and the system is always available with or without ‘airtime’. The system’s flexibility through simple customer control over forms creation and amendment is also widely acclaimed. There is Integration to multiple back office and other enterprise software applications, so that data is entered only once.
With its widely acclaimed mobile technology, 1st Touch has a clear focus on the Social Housing and Local Government markets. Many social housing providers and local authorities, at large, now benefit from the fast and tangible, best of breed benefits that 1st Touch mobile technology delivers to the enterprise.
To date, over 50% of the social housing market, which has deployed mobile technology, has chosen to implement 1st Touch. In local government, 1st Touch has already been adopted for a wide range of mobile workforce uses. Ready to use applications for local authority organisations include: Public Buildings, Highways/Street Services, Environmental/Waste Management, Revenues and Benefits, together with Planning Control and Trading Standards.
1st Touch software is available on a wide variety of platforms including: Windows Mobile, Apple and Android.