Caitlin Hafer, marketing manager at Bynaric, discusses why organisations aren’t investing in bespoke housing software and debunks the myths standing in the way
Social housing providers work hard to find homes that are a perfect fit for tenants. But many are using tools not designed for the job. No one would expect a carpenter to build a house with a spatula. So why expect housing providers to place people into homes using the wrong tools?
As this month’s issue has highlighted, housing providers benefit from using tools specifically designed for the job at hand. However, we want to take that statement one step further.
Entirely bespoke software is the best way for an organisation to ensure that their tools are perfectly matched to both the tasks at hand and their unique way of working.
But why aren’t organisations jumping to invest in bespoke software options? Because a few misconceptions are standing in the way. Let’s debunk them, shall we?
Myth #1: Bespoke systems take too long to build
False! With a good foundation, customised systems can be built with relative speed.
Bespoke, or customised, software feels like it’s been built from the ground up specifically for your organisation. However, that doesn’t have to mean that the foundation is built from scratch. A tailor may sew a custom suit for each customer, but he does not take time to re-invent the idea of a suit.
In the same way custom housing software, like that provided by Bynaric, builds on a foundational understanding of what housing providers need, then adapts the details to the specifications of each organisations.
By using a foundation that is proven to work, we can decrease the time it takes to build a customised system to less than the time it takes to onboard to most existing, out of the box systems.
Fact #1: Bespoke systems save you time in the long run
Not only do bespoke systems take less time to build they also improve efficiency within your organisation. For example, by reducing data entry errors.
Each field in a form represents a chance for a mistake.
With a customised system you can restrict the options users have when entering data.
As a result, customised software can prevent the little errors that make data messy and difficult to use.
Myth #2: Bespoke systems take too much effort to maintain
False again! Customised systems are inherently flexible.
From the outside, customised software systems may seem like a rigid luxury. Once created your organisation is locked into a structure and changes are costly and time consuming.
This idea is simply not true! Let’s look at the tailor example again. If he knows it might be needed, he can add extra fabric for making a suit bigger later on. The same is true with well built, bespoke software systems.
Fact #2: Bespoke systems are designed to grow with you
With a customised system your software solution grows with you. Instead of being forced to adapt or modify your system (which wastes time and money) a customised system has the potential for growth built in. Adaptation might mean adding fields, expanding your database, connecting more services, or reorganising existing data. With an adaptable system these can be implemented in a short amount of time.
This rapid and easy deployment of changes is possible due to the software’s location in the cloud as opposed to on a local server. With cloud based or software as a service (SaaS) systems updates are deployed from a location out to every user on the system.
Customised software systems go beyond meeting your needs. They grow and adapt as your organisation changes.
Myth #3: Bespoke software is too expensive
You guessed it. False again!
How much time do organisations waste pulling data from a variety of sources? And what does that cost? In a recent analysis Bynaric found that an estimated 5% productivity loss could be attributed to software that was not fit for purpose. For a housing provider with 10,000 properties that adds up to €700,000 per year.
How much do you spend per year on software costs? How much on help desk calls? On report creation? Most housing software providers charge users for reporting, help desk, and system changes. With a fully bespoke system these abilities are built in. In the same cost analysis Bynaric found that on average services cost the same provider €187,000 per year.
Finally, there are the qualitative savings of using a software system that is built specifically to fit your organisation’s needs. More straightforward processes make training faster. Less time spent entering information leads to fewer mistakes. And everything gives employees more time to focus on helping people get the housing they need.
Fact #3: Bespoke software saves you money
The numbers don’t lie. In the short term, customised systems have a lower onboarding cost, they improve efficiency, and provide the ability to accurately budget for IT costs. In the long term they give housing organisations the power to plan for future development and provide more people housing at lower costs.
For example, IPS Lifecycle Costs Module allows housing providers to understand their cost projections for decades in advance. With just a click upcoming costs are clearly laid out and organisations can take advantage of the ability to plan ahead for large repairs or other costly activities.
The truth? Customised housing software is the best solution for housing providers.
Housing providers have been told for too long that customised software systems are beyond their reach. That belief is based false information about the cost, effort, or investment required.
At Bynaric we are saying the opposite.
Systems built on strong foundations give organisations the ability to have software systems that precisely match their needs, without huge investments of time or capital. At the same time, customised systems pay-off quickly in terms of IT savings and improved efficiency.
When the myths and misconceptions are swept, aside customised housing software solutions are not only a viable option for housing providers they are a clear favourite.
Image: mojo cp/Shutterstock
Bynaric is a Housing Digital Stakeholder and developer of Intelligent Property Solutions (IPS), a software solution that aims to make data management and analysis simpler and easier for social housing.
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