The Future of Property Services is Digital

It’s easy to see how the world of property services and social housing is about to undergo radical reform. The carbon zero agenda, demand growth and post-Covid financial pressures all point in one direction: increased digitisation.

Consider the implications of the twin objectives of getting all social housing stock up to EPC level C by 2030 and then to achieve full net carbon zero by 2050.

Where are we starting from? And what precise actions at the levels of individual neighbourhoods and properties will be needed? Answering those questions and converting the answers into action plans is a huge data collection and management task.

All of that work needs to be planned and tracked alongside responsive repairs, compliance, voids and upgrades. Meanwhile the expectations of resident customers for convenience and responsiveness are growing. They are increasingly digitally-focused in the way they interact with a wide range of organisations.

And, of course, property services budgets are coming under more pressure.

It’s unlikely that fragmented approaches to property services procurement and manual record keeping will survive. Better coordination and intelligent data use will become indispensable.

Process Improvement and Transparency

It’s important to grasp that digitisation doesn’t mean taking what we do now and transplanting the same processes to a digital environment. Cloud based technologies are also the catalysts for process improvement and real time data sharing.

Imagine being able to swap overly-detailed reports that are manually updated (with a time lag of weeks) for a crystal clear data dashboard that is continuously updated by operatives and customer support teams from a mobile device.

Digital tools also allow resident customers to increasingly self-serve. Rather than phoning or emailing to report a fault or check the status of a repair they can go online and find out what they need in seconds. They can also quickly find answers to common questions so that customer service agents can spend more time assisting people who need extra help.

If the future of social housing means being greener, more efficient and more responsive to residents’ needs, it has to be digital.

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