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Disrupting Dynamics 365 in Housing – #D365ForHousing

For nearly a year I’ve worked with colleagues across our industry to disrupt the way we implement Dynamics 365……#D365ForHousing. This project provides FREE modules (see below) to anyone who registers (which is also free). Here’s how this can disrupt how we implement, maintain and improve Dynamics 365.

Why am I doing this?

I’ve worked in Social Housing since 1999 (and met lots of people across the sector). The first 10 years were spent in customer service (Contact centre, Housing Management). In 2010 I was lucky enough to get the opportunity to implement CRM 4 at AmicusHorizon (now Optivo) and caught the CRM bug.

Our sector does some amazing things for customers all over the world. Dedicated people at all levels have shown in the last year just how much they care for each other and customers living in their homes, even during these uncertain times. 000’s of colleagues are out there doing amazing things to support some of the most vulnerable in our society. We’ve changed the way we think, the solutions we come up with and the type of services we offer……And then we often come back and type up all this great stuff into a spreadsheet or within white space in a legacy system.

Many Associations have done lots of great things to rectify this including implementing Dynamics 365. However, there appears to be two big blockers for a number of others, Cost and internal resource. For this reason I set up #D365ForHousing

What is #D365ForHousing?

The #D365ForHousing mission is simple

Deliver solutions that are affordable, innovative and collaborative. Enabling colleagues to deliver a great service and free up funds to build homes.

Ideas, and ways of working around a business process are crowdsourced from across the sector. This detail then flows into the process below:

Working this way helps us all realise some big benefits.

How does it disrupt the sector?

Affordable – The modules are free to any public sector organisation. This significantly reduces implementation costs. Each module has been developed with the sector so you know it has many of the key features required. This low code, out the box approach means that you can continue to build on the modules and they wont be impacted by Microsoft updates.

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Innovative – This process provides £000’s worth of modules for free. The project could be used as a blue print to share other technology (for free) saving the sector millions.

Collaborative – We share buckets of information to help in all aspects of our business. #D365ForHousing takes things further by implementing that knowledge and processes into core modules within a global product….

Microsoft Dynamics.

Why Dynamics?

Dynamics is being heavily invested in by Microsoft which means it will continue to grow and include more great functionality for us to make the most of, including things like AI. However, even with the huge investment there are some key things that wont change, It’s:

  • Available anywhere – Dynamics 365 is accessed via a browser which means you can log in to any device and get straight to work.
  • Links with other Microsoft products that you use every day (Word, Excel, Outlook, Teams) – Helping you sweat the assets you already pay for.
  • Increasing your choice of supplier – there are thousands of Microsoft partners to work with
  • Easy to administer – This means a lot of the changes, admin functions etc can be done in house which saves you money in the long run.
  • Open to integration with a vast number of products – from Marketing software like mail chimp to portals that enable customers to self serve.
  • Supports your digital 1st strategy – being cloud based, low code, available anywhere Dynamics really does support your digital 1st strategy. Its easy to deploy and all users need is a username and password.
  • Module based – Dynamics 365 is built using solutions (modules) that can be moved between environments making it perfect for sharing technology

What are the challenges and potential solutions?

You may have picked up that I’m a bit of a Dynamics fan. But I’m more than aware that there can be challenges.

Dynamics licences are expensive!

Yep, to get a quality product there is an overhead (although I’m sure the licencing experts at Microsoft could help reduce that pain). But it does empower you to do more in house, link with other Microsoft 365 products most of us also pay for and open the door to 000’s of suppliers. This provides ‘choice’ something that many legacy systems prevent.

Legacy systems

Lets face it, these systems can be big and expensive to move away from (while others are just spreadsheets or access databases). They hold key data like rents and repairs that you need to keep hold of. This is where you’re Dynamics 365 road map comes in. By understanding the strategy Dynamics will support you can build a roadmap that identifies the process/data that can be removed from the legacy system or linked to Dynamics. For example you may want to move arrears from the housing management system. While moving all your rent transactions from your housing management system into Dynamics isn’t the best way forward you may still need to push/pull the latest arrears action to and from Dynamics and just a view of the current arrears. This would leave the transactional piece sitting within the legacy system but get that all important customer contact into Dynamics.

User Adoption

This is a big one. In my opinion, implementing Dynamics 365 is a business project not just an IT one (although its heavily supported by Technology). Dynamics is a very different user experience, no more adding war and peace into a free text box. Instead you need to categorise the contact and decide the best course of action using a system that should reflect your business process. Engaging users from the start is the best way to achieve this and not shy away from challenges. I’ve written a couple of blogs on the subject to help you.

Need help? Here’s how I can support your Dynamics 365 journey:

  • Provide you with FREE Dynamics 365 modules that users love (Once you’ve registered) –#D365forhousing has already delivered several great modules (see above) including complaints, lettings and ASB
  • Support your implementation of Dynamics 365 or support the jump start of a current system – Deliver an application that’s adopted, delivers a return on your investment and doesn’t break the bank. My focus is Outcome, not Income.*
  • Provide ongoing support – I’ve teamed up with a Microsoft partner to deliver a great service as your system grows.

If this sounds good, or you’re not sure where to start please get in touch.

*(20% of my profit will be donated to Shelter) 

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