Case Study

Watford Community Housing streamline their housing management system and facilitate a better remote working experience

Based in Hertfordshire, Watford Community Housing own and manage more than 5,000 social housing homes and have consistently been at the forefront of taking new technologies from the MRI ecosystem to help serve their customer base.

The Challenge of Remote Working

The past 12 months have highlighted for many the need to implement systems to facilitate remote working. With many teams forced to work at home due to government lockdown restrictions, housing associations like Watford Community Housing have sought ways to improve flexible working solutions  for teams and reduce the cost footprint of running their housing management systems.

An Agile Solution

MRI Housing Enterprise Web is the new web client for MRI’s housing management system. This achievement is the culmination of many years’ research and development work to take the heritage Orchard (acquired by MRI in 2020) product and allow users to seamlessly use the solution in a web browser.

Watford Community Housing needs the agility to allow teams to work either in the office, from home, or from tenants’ properties when visiting. Using a housing management system run via a web client makes this possible without the need for a VPN or third-party software.

As long-term partners of MRI for almost 15 years, Watford Community Housing are often among the first to pilot and invest in MRI’s social housing systems. When the MRI Housing Enterprise Web client was launched, the team at Watford Community Housing were one of the first five customers to test it.

The housing association has now officially gone live with the web client. They initially rolled the system out to their Customer Service and Customer Relations teams and have since expanded this to include their Incomes team as well.

Seamless access

With teams working from home, in the office and out on-site visiting tenants, standardised web browser access to MRI Housing Enterprise has opened up a simplified, more efficient way for staff to benefit from the housing management system wherever they’re based.

Chief Technology Officer Barry Wilson said:

The accessibility provided by MRI’s new software has been invaluable to our teams across the board. It’s certainly an optimal way of working, regardless of whether our employees are in the office, working from home or out in the community helping customers.

360-degree view

MRI Housing Enterprise Web allows customer relations teams to access all information on a particular tenant or property from a single point.

Access for team members to a 360-degree view, including details, notes, contact history and repair history allows for a speedier, more efficient service for tenants, as it means customer service representatives don’t need to access multiple systems for data.

Fully Integrated

With full integration across the entire MRI ecosystem, as well as a host of systems from other providers, MRI Housing Enterprise Web allows for a fully joined-up work platform. For Watford Community Housing, this means that MRI Income Analytics, Housing Enterprise, Finance Enterprise, Self-appoint repairs and other provider solutions such as Total Mobile are all integrated, allowing the systems to speak to each other, consolidate data, and reduce the need for duplicate data entry.

With a single version of truth across all platforms, all teams are working with the same data. This means that wherever they’re working, whether at home, in the office, or out and about, they can act safe in the knowledge that their information is the most up to date.

Mobile Housing Officer

Integrating with MRI Housing Enterprise Web, MRI Mobile Housing Officer allows for instant access by housing officers to tenant information whilst on the go. The app provides a full view and easy access to the tenant and property information stored within MRI Housing Enterprise, helping officers to provide a more streamlined, efficient service to tenants without the need to complete paperwork back at the office.

Watford Community Housing’s Barry Wilson adds:

The MRI Mobile Housing Officer functionality is just what’s needed for our employees when they are on the move, visiting residents at different locations. It allows for instant access to tenant information, meaning we’re able to offer a speedy, seamless service to our customers whilst reducing paperwork for our employees.

Partner Relationship

MRI Software and Watford Community Housing have a strong partnership, built over 15 years. At board and CEO level, MRI have worked with the housing association to help achieve their ambitious plans to develop their business and interact with their tenants. With Watford Community Housing’s investment in MRI’s new solutions, they are instrumental in how the new developments are shaped – and are often amongst the first to test them out. Barry concludes:

Moving away from the classic platform and a client-based installation was always going to be advantageous, but working in a strategic partnership alignment with our software supplier has brought benefits to both organisations. This is something Watford Community Housing is keen to establish with its suppliers and we look forward to continuing our partnership with MRI as they grow and transform their product offerings.

In the future, MRI Software and Watford Community Housing will continue to work together and with the increased capabilities that come with MRI’s expanding portfolio, new developments that will benefit the housing association and many others like it are on the horizon.

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