Challenge: Incompatible legacy systems
A not-for-profit organization, Wales & West Housing (WWH) aims to make a real difference in people’s lives and communities by providing good quality homes, particularly for those most in need.
With as many as 22,000 people living in its properties, WWH has an important mission: to deliver quality housing and services for all tenants, as cost efficiently as possible.
The organization’s housing, maintenance and care professionals need to collect large quantities of data – some of it confidential – and access that information from any location, at any time.
WWH relied on Microsoft SharePoint and several other key IT systems in areas such as housing and repairs, but these different technologies were not connected to each other, creating massive inefficiencies. The organization knew it needed a better way to collect business data, share it across various systems and make it accessible to mobile employees working in the field.
WWH shortlisted two workflow solutions during its selection process. “K2 Cloud quickly emerged as the obvious choice,” said Gareth Abramczyk, SharePoint administrator at WWH. “We could see straight away that K2 Cloud was capable and could provide a complete solution, but it wasn’t until we received the product training that we realized just how many doors it would open up for us.”
Solution: Simple, mobile processes save time
WWH has developed more than six separate business process automations using K2 Cloud and SmartForms. One particularly beneficial solution allows mobile employees to access information about historical property repairs while making site visits. Using any web-enabled mobile device, employees log in, load a form and enter their enquiry details. “K2 Cloud lets employees view all the data they need in one place without having to return to the office and go from one system to another,” Abramczyk shared.
Another mobile solution allows employees in the field to collect data about ad hoc maintenance jobs. Data is recorded in a SmartForm, via mobile, and automatically sent to the relevant back office systems. Previously, employees had to return to the office and use one or more different systems, but now they can log maintenance jobs from a single form, at one time, from any place. “Employees can do in seconds what might otherwise have taken hours,” Abramczyk said.
As part of its 50th anniversary celebrations, WWH launched a program called Making A Difference to Your Future, Making A Difference to Your Environment, allowing its residents to apply for a range of innovative grants. Residents fill out a SmartForm with details of their planned projects, notifications are immediately sent to the relevant teams, and collected data is transferred automatically into the decision-making process. This requires no paper at all.
“K2 Cloud allows us to pass data safely from what is essentially an insecure web to a secure intranet,” commented Abramczyk. “It creates an efficient, easy-to-follow process for tenants, while also saving administration time internally.”
Legally, WWH has to perform a series of health & safety tests at all of its 9,000 properties every year, and the information about inspection due dates had been held in mammoth spreadsheets and lists. The organization created a K2 Cloud process that sends alerts when inspections are due. It automatically raises a job order, so engineers can visit the property. Once the job is complete, the workflow updates the central records, with no manual intervention required.
WWH anticipates that this process will remove the need for full-time administration, creating cost savings. Plus, the solution minimizes the likelihood of human error and facilitates the team in improving tenant safety.