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DPHS (Aberdeen) - CRM, Web and Tablet Applications

The client

The DPHS (Disabled Persons Housing Service Aberdeen) is a local charity offering housing advice, information and advocacy to disabled people, their families and carers. Based in Aberdeen, the DPHS is constantly developing its services with the main aim to assist disabled people who are looking for suitable housing in Aberdeen City either in the social rented sector, private sector or estate agents and local housing developers.

The problem

Many housing companies of today, as well as DPHS, process and collect their data through a very time-consuming mechanism of lengthy personal visits and excessive amount of paperwork. That creates many problems and reporting issues.

The usual application process would consist of the following steps:

  • An enquiry raised by the applicant.
  • The applicant would be then visited by a member of DPHS staff and help him/her with filling in the paperwork (this process usually takes several hours to be completed).
  • After the visit, the collected information would need to be filled into the forms of various Housing Landlord’s Applications - by hand.
  • For DPHS, to be able to report to their funders and sponsors, selected applications for certain time period would have to be counted one by one.

What we did

What Intellicore created is a bespoke solution comprising of several parts that improved very much the way DPHS work with their data. The system is composed of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its back-office information management system, a website registration, and a specialised tablet registration application.

The CRM system was tailored to the client’s needs with the inclusion of new entities enabling the tracking of housing applications and new client registrations. We have created custom CRM views and dashboards for quick and easy access to information. The user will now be allowed to customise reports and to generate the necessary statistical data at the press of a button.

From now on, all the applicants will be able to set up an account for themselves using the website registration. It allows them to create and fill out the DPHS registration form at their leisure, as well as being able to stop or resume the process at any time. As the applicant progresses through the application, the “behind the scenes” replication process ensures the captured data is updated in CRM. This technique ensures the right data is available in the back-office system for the staff at DPHS and especially guarantees that the process of data entry and management is simple for the user.

The tablet application was developed for the client’s supplied Samsung Galaxy Tab 4 and any additional Android 4.3+ compatible tablets. These tablet applications are used by the DPHS staff themselves for their regular visits to the applicants where they can help them with the application process. It is connected to the same back-office mechanism, which ensures that the right information is pulled into the app no matter where the user is signing in from. Whether the application is offline or online the data is entered and validated once and synchronised across the platforms.

Benefits

The main benefits of this solution are as follows:

  • A platform is provided for the applicants to populate their own housing application online. This has not been previously possible and should reduce the time spent on home visits, which allows for an increase in the number of customers that can be attended to.
  • A secondary platform is also provided in the form of the tablet application. It eliminates duplication of data as well as allowing the DPHS staff to significantly decrease the time they need to spend with the applicant.
  • The CRM back-office system provides the client with a full and modern data management system that handles all their data. And as a great feature, the advanced reporting capability makes it easier than ever to generate various reports for the client’s sponsors and funders, such as Aberdeen Council.

In a second phase of development, Intellicore would like to extend the solution’s capability to send the applications directly to the Housing Associations from Dynamics CRM. To achieve this successfully, Intellicore would need to work alongside the other housing associations to make sure their systems are capable of managing the data in a similar way.

Technology Used

Below is a list of the technology used in this project:

  • HTML5
  • CSS3
  • JavaScript
  • C#
  • SQL
  • Microsoft Dynamics CRM
  • MySQL Database
  • Cordova Framework