With such a relentless number of pressures facing organisations across the UK, settling into the pattern of another new year isn’t the only challenge right now. But navigating such a multifaceted role means the stakes are particularly high for the social housing sector.
As well as managing everything from recruitment challenges and already stretched IT budgets, to the effects of ongoing geopolitical turmoil, the responsibility to serve a growing demographic with specialist properties and support continues. Having traditionally been reluctant to adapt to technological innovation, the sector is still battling with inefficient — and often redundant — legacy infrastructure too.
But it’s not just about wholesale change. By shifting priorities and opening doors to greater opportunities, social housing organisations can drive powerful progress over the coming months. Here, client director at Central Networks, Mike Dunleavy, explores which IT advancements will have the biggest impact in 2023…
Expecting and accepting downtime
With the increasing proliferation of cyber attacks, it’s only natural to feel overwhelmed by the possibility of downtime – not least with the oft-cited statistic looming, which states that £3.6m could be lost by organisations each year as a result.
Of course, there are so many reasons for IT to become momentarily out of use – from malicious malware downloads, to natural disaster strikes, general human error, and more. But accepting these feats as inevitable means shaking responsibility altogether.
By instead taking a proactive approach to maintenance, housing associations can prevent unprecedented cyber attacks in their infancy, minimise unproductive work hours, protect costs, plus safeguard company reputation amongst customers, partners, and stakeholders alike. Above all else, foolproof training procedures must take centre stage this year — ensuring teams feel empowered to spot potentially risky nuances in the network.
Overlooking the benefits of outsourced IT support
Talent attraction and retention is a major concern for all organisations. But with the growing lack of resource, economic struggles, and nationwide digital skills shortage, housing associations are under increasing pressures.
The return on investment offered by outsourcing key IT needs – such as help desk support and proactive network maintenance – is well worth its weight in gold. Not only do specialist teams offer years of experience, spanning a variety of industries, they also often boast lower costs, and enable you to focus internal resources on your core business strategy.
Paying for redundant tech
Digital transformation needs are evolving constantly. And without a CTO or finance team in place to focus on the strategic future of your housing association, a lot of organisations will find themselves running into trouble – implementing knee-jerk, sticking plaster solutions that serve limited long-term purpose.
With both finances and human resources stretched in countless directions, the pressure to introduce the fastest and cheapest fixes into the tech stack is immense. But what many IT leaders also forget when solving organisational challenges, is that future growth must be taken into consideration too.
A major part of this strategy, is to invest in infrastructure that’s truly scalable. In being able to flex up and down as required, firms won’t risk overspending on overprovisioned technology – because it will grow in line with evolving business needs.
Assuming that productivity is a given
With a limited number of resources to tap into, housing associations are navigating the need to do more with less. And the current economic backdrop, coupled with rising recruitment pressures, means this feat will only become more of a challenge in 2023.
Ensuring the right infrastructure is in place will be a major driver of productivity. Being technologically savvy is not a given, for example – no matter how digital our world has become. So, will the new ways of working suit your employees? And will the right support be in place to help with a seamless transition?
Failing to replace legacy infrastructure
Like many industries, archaic legacy systems are seriously hampering growth in the social housing sector. As well as being costly to maintain and worse for the environment, they’re often incredibly unreliable – not to mention dangerously unsecure.
Most of the time, IT leaders and CFOs are well aware of this. However, the prospect of mapping out a well-considered digital transformation project is often far too daunting. This is an issue that will only grow in severity over time, so appointing the right support to facilitate such a transition – optimising infrastructure, whilst keeping costs as low as possible, and minimising the risk of downtime – is crucial this year, if not done already.
Further procrastination will simply not suffice, unless organisations want to place business continuity, cyber security, team productivity, and customer satisfaction at greater risk.
Keen to continue this conversation? Central Networks is an outsourced IT partner, specialising in realms spanning cloud services and digital security, to managed help desk support, strategic consultancy, and more. Simply get in touch, to see how we can help drive your social housing firm forward – in 2023, and beyond.
Central Networks are a strategic technology partner. Excellent technology is a given, customer service, trust and long-term relationships are what drive our business. We support CEOs, Heads of IT, IT technicians and transformation directors to ensure technology provides an edge to their organisations.