Automating processes and tasks in Aareon QL for Housing Service
West Lancashire Borough Council’s (West Lancs) Housing and Inclusion department is responsible for housing and policy strategy, housing options, estate management/regeneration, rents and money advice, sheltered housing, property management, asset management, caretaking and gardening.
As with many councils and housing departments, providing up-to-date, modern services to customers whilst trying to reduce costs and resources has become a major challenge. Much of this revolves around the handling and management of data. A task that, if done manually, can be time-consuming, costly and restrictive. West Lancs wanted to streamline many of these processes and explore new services that would benefit the entire department.
“As an industry, we have to use service automation if we want to save money and save resources. We might not be saving cashable money for some of the things we do but we are releasing the resources to be directed to the right areas. For me that’s going to help organisations and it’s going to help them deliver the key milestones that they need to deliver.”Craig Round, Project Manager, Services Development Team, West Lancs.
The Pain of Manual Monitoring and Communication
Prior to the deployment of Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform with Aareon QL (a dedicated housing management system), many processes were being performed manually, such as checking debit statuses at the weekend, dealing with asbestos enquiries, generating and distributing surveys and reports as well as trying to adapt to the changes introduced to the benefits system – notably the introduction of Universal Credit – and the subsequent issue of having to chase payments.
With many separate services and systems, such as its HomeFinder service, the introduction of a new CRM system and a host of new applications in the pipeline, the department also required a solution that would be able to integrate everything easily.
“Rather than spend a lot of money with third parties we want to do everything ourselves as much as we possibly can. Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform allows us to do that. There’s so much we are going to exploit. For me it is very easy to use. The drag and drop environment provides all the elements required and it’s a product which flows. Although there is some real complex stuff going into some tasks – Universal Credit for example – it didn’t actually take that long to create. Because of the structure of the BPA Platform there is a lot of things that you can replicate – making similar tasks do different jobs.”Craig Round
Automating Processes with the BPA Platform
Using the BPA Platform, in conjunction with Aareon QL, the Council has been able to automate many of its processes, enabling it to resolve certain pain points and explore new projects. Some of the issues and services that it has managed to address with BPA Platform include:
- Universal Credit – Codeless Platforms’ BPA Platform has automated the communication process including SMS, emails and letter generation used for updating records and chasing payment.
- Asbestos Register – The BPA Platform automates access and queries to its Asbestos Register contained within Aareon QL, as well as the distribution of documents and ability to provide an audit trail.
- Debit Run – The BPA Platform monitors Aareon QL and notifies about debit irregularities.
- Cash Flow – The BPA Platform monitors state of cash flow in Aareon QL and emails relevant people about the value of the posting each night.
- On-Demand Services – The BPA Platform automates the processing of SMS and email queries.
- Surveys – The BPA Platform deployed to integrate CRM system with Survey Monkey as well as automate SMS survey campaigns.
- The BPA Platform is also being utilised in current development projects including a tenant self-serve app, HomeFinder service as well as the automation of social media management.
“We are moving forward now at a great pace. We’ve got lots of things going on. For our organisation it’s going to free a lot of officer time, but it’s also going to save a lot of expensive integration – reducing the costs that we usually pay to third parties. We are also going to get tailored resources to do what we actually want rather than this product is the only thing available.”Craig Round
Download the full case study to get a more in-depth view of how housing providers can achieve better business performance through the adoption of technology and automation, and discover the progressive and innovative thinking being taken by West Lancashire Bourough Council’s Housing and Inclusion Department.