Case Study

Case study | Soho Housing builds resilience into their business with MRI’s cloud hosting services

Based in London’s West End, Soho Housing currently owns and manages 800 properties at social and affordable rents for members of the local community in housing need, as well as market rented and commercial properties.

As an early adopter of cloud technology, Soho’s ability to offer flexible working and a hybrid office/home model means they can attract more staff and take advantage of the increased productivity and happier people that has resulted from remote working.

Business Challenge

As national lockdowns meant that businesses across the UK needed to quickly adapt to flexible working models, the team at Soho knew that major changes to their working processes needed to happen to allow for resilience and improved efficiency.
This meant a rethink of the business’s working practice and office structure, as well reconfiguring the business’s tech systems to work from the cloud. This would allow for remote working, paperless processes, and a more streamlined operation.
“Our drive was about getting better control of the ‘what-ifs’. What if something happened to the server? What if people couldn’t get into the office? We were already starting to think in those terms, and so the obvious next step was to move our systems on the cloud.” – Jane Harrison, interim CEO and Director of Finance, Soho Housing.

Solution

With an office move scheduled, this was an ideal time to make the switch and overhaul the business’s way of working. The office move was also a catalyst to review Soho’s hosting arrangements to tie in with their IT strategy and push forward with their cloud transformation.
A key driver was to ensure a positive and seamless user experience for all Soho staff, allowing them to use their applications from anywhere as if they were still in the office. The search for a cloud-hosting service provider included looking at numerous options available on the market.

MRI’s broad selection of cloud service solutions enabled Soho to choose a service that factored in considerations such as cost, ease of implementation, and the strong relationship between our two teams’. Soho opted for Azure Virtual Desktops on MRI’s Managed Azure cloud hosting service as the best-fit solution for their needs.

Resilience and Flexibility

Moving the business’s tech solutions and systems onto a cloud service has meant that Soho can now respond more effectively to changes and unexpected events.
Whether affected by global events like the COVID-19 pandemic, or smaller internal issues, it allows the business to continue to provide services to their tenants. By facilitating remote working and enables access to the company’s applications and files from any device with an internet connection.
This has also meant that Soho can operate within a smaller office space through the implementation of a hot-desking style workspace, and offer team members flexible, hybrid working patterns.
Additionally, using the Azure cloud hosting service with Azure Virtual Desktop, flexible working no longer requires logging in to multiple gateways to facilitate working on a remote desktop solution and allows for the seamless transition from in-office working to working from home or remotely.

Improved Organisation

Coinciding with Soho’s office move, the implementation of cloud hosting has allowed the team to overhaul their filing systems and initiate a paperless office. This means that the business has improved control over the storage of the personal information of tenants, which simplifies their compliance with GDPR, as well as improving efficiency and customer service as information and documentation is easier to access.
“It’s allowed us to organise our filing systems and ensure that we can be on top of document retention. In moving to the cloud, we’ve made a start which is fundamental to the business.” – Jane Harrison, interim CEO and Director of Finance, Soho Housing.

Improved Customer Relations

With quicker systems and a more comprehensive filing system, as well as effective remote working from any device, members of the SOHO housing team can work more effectively with their tenants. For instance, being able to access a tenant’s account data while on a house visit, update their information and log repairs orders in real-time not only instils confidence in the tenant that their requests are being dealt with but also ensures a more streamlined working approach by eliminating the need to return to the office to make changes on the company’s system.

Excellent Support

As a trusted digital partner, MRI provided consultancy throughout the process to help guide Soho Housing through their choice of services, digital approach and the migration of applications to the cloud. As a managed service, MRI’s Azure cloud-hosting service includes technical support and a dedicated account manager.

“We were kept very well informed about the project implementation, and members of our team built a strong relationship with MRI straight away. We feel confident that if there is an issue or anything that needs to be resolved, our account manager is there to get it sorted it for us.” – Jane Harrison, interim CEO and Director of Finance, Soho Housing.

Ahead of the curve

Soho is now more resilient than ever. The team are adjusting to their new way of working and are taking advantage of a hybrid working model.
As an early adopter of cloud technology, Soho’s ability to offer flexible working and a hybrid office/home model means they can attract more staff and take advantage of the increased productivity and happier people that has resulted from remote working.
“There’s still more stuff to be added to the implementation and applications that need to be joined up to be as smooth as possible, but everything we need to run the business effectively is in place, and that’s very important.” – Jane Harrison, interim CEO and Director of Finance, Soho Housing.

Build resilience and flexibility into your business by moving to Azure cloud hosting services. Speak to our experts today to find out more about the benefits that cloud-based working can bring.

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