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Unlocking Solutions: Resolving Major Housing Challenges with the Microsoft Power Platform

RESAM (resam-consulting-ltd) is the trusted advisor to affordable housing providers. their Housing Sector Survey 2023 identifies some key priorities for the sector. I’ll look some of the key challenges flagged and identify how the Microsoft stack could help reduce the impact. Don’t get me wrong, Microsoft don’t (yet) build homes. But there are a lot of things we can do with the technology to help reduce costs, freeing up funds to build much needed homes or ensure that current stock is up to standard.  

The Priorities

According to the report 48% of providers indicate that investment in existing stock is their top priority, up from last year’s figure of 43%. This could reflect the focus there has been on damp and mould over the last six months as well as the continued focus on home decency and energy efficiency. Here are the other priorities.  

The challenges to achieving these priorities.  

The report identifies the challenges to achieving these priorities, this blog discusses how the Microsoft platform could help reduce the pain.  


According to the report Financial pressure appears to be ramping up for providers. 45% of respondents anticipate worsening finances over the next 12 months. This is an increase from almost a third of respondents in last year’s survey. The number of respondents expecting financial performance to remain the same has reduced by 10 percentage points to reflect this. As such, the number of respondents expecting performance to improve remains the same at 23%.  

With cut backs on new homes, planned maintenance and energy efficiency projects being 3 big considerations for housing associations any time spent reducing costs is time well spent.  

Potential solution  

Lets deal with the Microsoft elephant in the room, licences. Some organisations have managed to achieve not for profit status in the eyes of Microsoft and this certainly reduces cost. But other licences such as Dynamics (Customer Service, Field Service etc) remain high. However, Microsoft have negotiated some more favourable prices with the government. Housing providers can discuss this with their current licence provider.

Focus on system architecture/storage.  

Make the most of Azure blob storage – When you use the power platform your data is stored in Microsoft’s Dataverse, this can be expensive. Especially if you store documents, emails etc there. When you shift this to blob storage the cost of storing your data is significantly reduced. For those already using Dynamics Microsoft have already moved some activities (eg: email) over to blob storage for you so this would have helped reduce the storage you need in dataverse. 

Or use SharePoint – Not as cheap as blob storage but a lot cheaper than storing documents in Dynamics.  

Use a Power App not Dynamics Apps – As low code/no code takes a grip of the Microsoft Power Platform building solutions using PowerApps rather than a full dynamics app may be a cheaper alternative. The licences cost less and much of the functionality can be built in house, reducing the immediate and long-term costs of suppliers. It may also help increase Technology team retention as colleagues get a chance to move away from the stagnant housing management systems.  (WARNING!! Thought needs to go into if Powerapps/D365 apps are the best option. It depends on the business need, scale of the build etc. This blog on Dynamics V Powerapps may be worth a read if you’re considering this).  

Plans for Decarbonisation  

The anticipated costs of decarbonisation are rising with those anticipating spend of more than £30,000 per unit increasing from 13% to 19%.

Potential solution

Get hAPPy – build a property inspection PowerApp/Use Microsoft Forms/Voice of the customer. Many of us are unaware of exactly what our properties consistent of – mainly due to poor data (see below) – however we have conversations with customers and colleagues who do. Could we build an app (for colleagues) and use Microsoft Forms/Voice of the customer (if you use Dynamics) to gather key data from. I’m not suggesting we don’t need surveyors, but the initial technology could flag issues and prioritise where we send qualified (expensive) people.

Sector reputation

Respondents this year were asked what the sector could do to improve its reputation. Most respondents ranked a more effective responsive repairs service as the number one way for the sector’s reputation to improve, followed by investment in existing stock. Interestingly, the majority of Local Authorities (25%) indicated that simply building more homes is the best way to improve the sector’s reputation, a slightly different direction from other types of providers. Following this, the next most pressing issue was voted as more effective complaints handling – maintaining the overarching theme of providing economic value whilst ensuring that customer satisfaction is at the forefront of services provided in the affordable housing space

Potential solution

To be honest this is (for me) where the Microsoft Power Platform comes into its own and the options are huge. But lets focus on the complaints side of things….Build the complaints handling process in Dynamics. This blog gives you a feel of what it could look like. 5 ways the #D365ForHousing complaints module meets the new Housing Ombudsman code (


The majority of respondents see their data strategy as being simply sufficient for regulatory compliance, with the biggest obstacle highlighted being a lack of holistic technological solutions Data collection and storage are important drivers that the industry relies on to forecast its housing stock against key metrics and make it compliant with regulatory standards. However, amongst providers of social housing, there is no benchmark approach in terms of data collection and storage. Despite this, 60% report to having a data strategy that is sufficient for regulatory compliance, and 23% report to having a comprehensive data strategy which encapsulates full property, assets, and customer data – meaning at least three-quarters of providers consider themselves to be below the standard needed to evaluate its housing stock fully and effectively. Moreover, 10% of respondents have noted that they do not have a data strategy. Of the respondents who indicate that their data strategy is sufficient for regulatory compliance, 35% believe the biggest challenge in shaping such data is based on skillsets of employees. A further 32% have said that a lack of holistic technological solutions is the biggest challenge in shaping a data strategy going forward. It is worth noting that no provider thought that a data strategy was not an immediate priority, suggesting that the importance of data is recognised. With governance rating downgrades being issued by the Regulator of Social Housing on account of insufficient data, and the requirement of collecting and reporting tenant satisfaction data, this should be no surprise. However, the number of providers with an insufficient data strategy suggests that solutions should be more actively sought

Potential solutions

This is a big subject and key to the success of any system implementation. Others are more qualified to speak about a data strategy. However, the blogs below provide some practical ways the Microsoft stack could be used. Especially in conjunction with Microsoft’s Dataverse.  

  • What are Microsoft Dataverse best practices? ( – Microsoft Dataverse (formerly known as Common Data Service) is a data platform that allows users to store, manage, and access data. Its a core part of the Microsoft PowerPlatform so the data here is visible in Microsoft Dynamics, Power Bi and all the PowerApps you build.
  • Dataverse, Dynamics, Power Apps…..joining the dots ( – Heard about Dataverse, Dynamics and Power Apps but not sure how they can work together? In this blog I’ll show you one example (although there are hundreds) of how you can use all three.
  • Microsoft Fabric features and capabilities ( – Microsoft Fabric is a comprehensive data analytics platform powered by AI that enables you to analyse large volumes of data to uncover patterns, trends, and correlations, aiding in data-driven decision-making.
  • The Data Maturity Roadmap – #D365ForHousing ( – As digital strategies are implemented, improved and developed it’s never been more important to think about how you manage data. It’s the foundation of everything we do in the housing sector, fundamental to the Social Housing White Paper and is critical to the success of so many important strategic initiatives from implementing/maintaining Dynamics 365 to providing proactive services, IoT and AI.

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