Connected Housing 2014

We live in interesting times, with a General Election run-up ongoing, ‘one million waiting for social housing in marginal constituencies’ according to research from the Home Group, and ‘Right to buy’ plans knocking on the door of the Social Housing sector.

This is the backdrop as we release the 2014 Connected Housing Study. This research, conducted over the whole of last year, pulls together a broad range of metrics, independently and in collaboration with Housing organisations, tracking digital innovation and development in Housing over the course of the last 12 months.

Findings from the Connected Housing study come from an analysis of 235 Housing organisations that account for the management of 2.4 million homes, with the Top 100 responsible for 2 million of those.

And our findings reinforce a stark notion. It is that if the social housing sector is edged out of the equation in the future, it might be because its leaders have let it.

Today, we launch an interactive chart of the Top 150 Housing organisations on this website that provides a range of rankings part of our Connected Housing Index, including scores for specific areas of digital development such as communications, service design online and strength of digital influence.

Halton Housing tops the list again this year, consolidating their position as one of the vanguards of Housing as it goes digital and its future. For a Housing organisation managing 6,400 homes, Halton Housing, and its CEO Nick Atkin, have done much to demonstrate that size doesn’t matter when it comes to making a significant impact.

Housing lags behind a range of comparable, what you might call ‘averagely interesting’, slice-of-life brands competing for attention in the minds of residents. Looking at organisations such as Kent Police, Manchester NHS, the Trainline, O2 and several others, as examples, the top 100 UK Housing organisations have – as an average and at best – less than 5% of those companies’ social media engagement and attention.

Housing organisations have adopted some significant degree of online functionality in the last 12 months. The number of Housing organisations that provide some form of online portal for resident management has increased from 10% to 60%in 2014, but most organisations are still only in the early stages of generating digital value using an integrated and strategic approach.

The landscape that is unfolding, as Housing goes digital, is one populated by data.

Housing, has every good reason make the most of digital with all the data it has at its fingertips. And it can use the development of digital competencies inside Housing organisations to tailor services and save costs.

Data is a crucial asset, critical to the business intelligence that can help shape service design and how to tailor it, depending on how the challenges of –  for example – unemployment, late payments, voids, lack of supply, affordability, maintenance or the supply of other services stack up, area by area, for each Housing provider. Yet, few Housing organisations are in full possession of all the data that a networked organisation and connected digital business planning can provide.

Digital transformation will be the subject of substantial focus and effort in many organisations across a whole range of business sectors in 2015, in terms of both budget and time spent on it. Our intention with this Connected Housing report for 2014 is that the digital understanding and the data in this study will pay real dividends for decision-makers in Housing, enabling them to look at which strategic paths best meet the needs of their particular organisation, their stakeholders and their priorities.