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whg deploys Aareon Managed Services

One of the Midlands most successful housing associations, whg, has extended its use of housing technology through the deployment of Managed Services from Aareon UK. By choosing this route, whg has not only boosted Value For Money (VFM) but also significantly reduced the time taken for new services to become fully operational. The first phase of whg's technology investment was the Aareon 1st Touch mobile responsive repairs system. This is currently used by many of the 250 trades colleagues that maintain the business' stock of more than 21,000 homes. Subsequently, whg added gas and electrical inspection modules too. Having reviewed the market extensively, the multi-platform Aareon systems were chosen, as they allowed whg to write its own forms, deliver superior audits and to easily update its mainframe with data in real time.

Having seen the significant benefits achieved through these first stages, whg identified the significant advantages of developing the system further by adding additional modules. These included:
Doorstep Appointments
Stock Condition Surveys
Pre & Post Assessments
Voids Management
Van Stock Replenishment

There was a desire from whg to move at a pace and to be as cost effective as possible. Having extensively reviewed all the available options, Aareon's Managed Services facility stood out as a solution to achieve this. This would allow whg to quickly access the services it needed which would be expertly managed by Aareon.

Within just a few months of going down the Managed Services route, Aareon has deployed all the desired solutions whg required and has fully integrated them with the existing back office mainframe system. Not only were the solutions up and working extremely quickly, there was limited requirement for additional internal colleagues to support the solution.

Nigel Harris Director of Home Maintenance Services at whg explains:
"The initial phases of our technology investment had been very successful. Our repairs processes are now more efficient and there are significant savings too; like no longer having to pay 70,000 to generate gas or electrical certification or using the existing Contractor module of their housing management system, which saved 50,000.

"With this very positive experience, we could also see the significant efficiency and customer benefits of adding further systems. Doorstep Appointments will allow us to make follow-on and new appointments whilst still with customers at their homes. With our pre and post inspections there would no longer be a need for someone to take photographs and return to the office, as this is now done on-site before moving straight on to the next property having created a schedule of works. Void inspections would also become significantly more cost-effective and efficient, whilst digital van stock management would both reduce wastage and save time."

Combined, whg believes these new modules will transform its working practices. Aareon's Managed Services was the enabler that made this achievable. Harris continues, "Aareon's Managed Services option enables us to add systems we require effectively and quickly and it has really moved the business forward. It is also great news for customers who are extremely supportive of service enhancements. We are confident that the services we have accessed are the very latest systems operated and managed by the sector's leading experts."

Paul O'Reilly, Aareon UK's Head of Account Management welcomed these comments, adding; "Many of our social housing customers want to ensure that they are using their technology estate to the very best for their tenants, whilst pursuing optimal VFM and the best possible use of resources. Managed Services helps them to achieve this.

"Our relationship with whg is an excellent example of this. By utilising our Managed Services option, the business is able to access high-performance, cost-effective services far more quickly than if they were deploying them internally. This is great news for both whg and its customers. In addition, they can be confident that the services supplied will use only the very latest version of Aareon's technology and are being managed by the very best team. The other really great news is that the resources whg saves can be redirected back to further supporting residents."

Looking forward, whg will consider other Managed Service options as they become available. As Nigel Harris says, "In keeping with the nature of such supply agreements, we are building an exceptionally strong working relationship with the Aareon team and one of the major benefits of this is that they are able to advise of best-practices and fine tuning ideas that make a real difference. We look forward to working closely with Aareon and establishing how we might use the Managed Services route elsewhere in the business."



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