Aspire Housing has started the new year with the launch of their brand new website and tenant self-service portal—an exciting collaboration between the housing association and VerseOne Group.
As part of their digital transformation journey and commitment to customer service, Aspire Housing wanted to push the boundaries in ensuring that the self-service portal would provide their customers with a true 24/7/365 solution. Features include automatic user validation, tenancy details, rent balances, and delivered in real time, making payments, and much more.
In just under 3 months Aspire Housing are already seeing the benefits including:
- Exceeded the volume of registered accounts Aspire Housing had in the whole of 2017.
- Online payments have increased from 11% to 41%
- Reporting repairs online has increased overall from 147 in January to 210 in March
Repairs diagnostics and customer-booked appointments
Crucially, the portal also provides tenants with the ability not only to diagnose their own repairs, but also be able to choose their own time slots—using the same contractor availability rules as used by Aspire Housing’s customer service agents.
In July 2017, Aspire Housing’s Cerris Homes—another successful collaboration with VerseOne—was the first housing company to deliver a digital by default, online Shared Ownership Application Process; the Aspire Housing portal’s real-time, self-appointed repairs is another example of the company driving innovation in the social housing sector.
Managing multiple systems
Of course, delivering these features required the integration of a number of interlocking systems: including Orchard’s housing management system, Kirona’s DRS Scheduling application, and Handepay and Barclaycard payment gateways.
To provide the most robust solution, VerseOne Group partnered with Manifest Software Solutions—a software integration specialist with particular experience with Orchard’s housing management system.
Chris Mounsey, VerseOne’s Chief Product Officer and project sponsor, explains why VerseOne decided to go down this route.
“VerseOne has been delivering self-service portals for RSLs for nearly a decade—both through data imports, and via real-time web services. The Aspire Housing project required a new level of in-house system integration. So, when Manifest came to us with their Universal Connector and Warehouse—plus many years of working with Orchard’s systems—we knew that a partnership was the best way to ensure the success of Aspire Housing’s project.
“Manifest were able to build a set of custom application programming interfaces (APIs), to our design, enabling our teams to concentrate on our specialities of front-end design, secure publishing and public-facing web service integration.”
The co-ordination of the various work streams and partners provided a challenge for VerseOne’s Project Management Office (PMO) but the end product demonstrates that the team, in conjunction with Aspire Housing’s project team, proved equal to the task.
Aspire Housing had engaged with tenants at specific points throughout the project: the buzz created by this, as well as the smooth execution of the pre-planned marketing strategy, meant that customers started signing up from day one.
Tracey Price, Customer Excellence Manager, stresses that the organisation is not about to rest on its laurels.
“The launch of the website and portal is the culmination of an incredible amount of hard work by our internal teams, and our delivery partners. But it is just one part of a larger digital transformation and renewal journey at Aspire Housing.
The whole business is determined to aspire and inspire and, through leading by example, drive innovation throughout the whole RSL sector.
“With this in mind, we will be working with VerseOne to help define the next steps on our digital journey.”
With an exciting new website and the most capable self-service portal in the sector, 2018 already promises to be an extraordinary year for Aspire Housing, VerseOne, and its partners.
VerseOne Group Services & Software
- Creative Design;
- Process Consultancy;
- Front-end Development;
- Technical Development;
- VerseOne CMS Enterprise;
- VerseOne Secure Portal—incorporating Datafish, Autevo, and Autevo Connectors;
- VerseOne Business Process Manager;
- Vocoll Live Support.
Manifest Software (partners)
- Manifest Software Orchard Warehouse;
- Manifest Software Universal Adaptor.