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HOUSEABILITY (Aberdeenshire) - CRM, Web and Tablet Applications

Houseability Aberdenshire approached Intellicore to create a bespoke solution to solve their data management difficulties. Connecting CRM with bespoke website and tablet applications brought a system that changed the way client handles their data.

The client

Houseability (formerly known as Disabled Persons Housing Service Aberdeenshire) was formed in 1999. A registered charity, they aim to help and support disabled people in Aberdeenshire with housing needs. Funded by Aberdeenshire Council and operating through a board of directors, Houseability are based in Peterhead and cover the whole of Aberdeenshire.

The problem

As well as many other companies in the housing sector today, Housability’s process of data collection was based on time-consuming mechanism of lengthy personal visits and excessive amount of paperwork, creating many problems, especially reporting issues.

The usual application process would consist of the following steps:

  • Applicant raised an enquiry.
  • A member of Houseability staff would visit the applicant, filling in the paperwork with him/her (this process sometimes taking up to several hours).
  • The same information would then need to be filled by hand into the forms of various Housing Association Applications.
  • To create an applications report for Houseability’s sponsors and funders, all the applications for a certain time period would have to be counted by hand.

What we did

Intellicore created a bespoke solution composed of several components that changed the way Houseabilty handles their data. The system consists of Microsoft Dynamics CRM as its back-office data management system, a website application and a specialized tablet application.

The CRM system was modified to suit the client with the inclusion of new Entities to track client registrations and housing applications. Custom views and dashboards have been created for a quick and easy access of information. Customised reports will now also allow the user to generate the necessary statistical data at the press of a button.

The website application was developed for applicants to be able to set up an account for themselves, allowing them to create and fill out the housing applications at their own leisure, and be able to stop and resume the process at any time. A separate replication process ensures the captured data is updated in CRM as the applicant progresses the application. This technique ensures the process of data entry and management is simple for the user yet ensures the right data is available in the back-office system for the staff at Houseability.

The tablet application was developed for Android 4.3+ compatible tablets and deployed to the client’s Samsung Galaxy Tab 4, which is used by the Housability staff themselves, for their regular visits to the applicants where they can help them with the application process. Connected to the same back-office mechanism, it secures that the right information is pulled to the app when signed in either from the website or the tablet. The data is entered once, whether the application is offline or online, validated once and synchronised across the platforms.

Benefits

The main benefits of this solution are as follows:

  • It provides a platform for the applicants to populate their own registration form online which hasn’t been previously possible. This should reduce the time spent on home visits allowing an increase in the number of customers that can be served.
  • It also provides a secondary platform that allows the Houseability staff to significantly decrease the time they need to spend with the applicant as well as it eliminates duplication of data.
  • The client now has a modern full CRM back-office system to handle all their data, together with the advanced reporting capability that allows for generation of various report for the client’s sponsors and funders, Aberdeenshire Council being one of them.
  • Introduction of the system in the organisation has proven Houseability to be forward thinking. This played some part in a recent tender award which secures funding for a further 3 to 5 year period.

For a Phase 2 development of this project Intellicore would like to incorporate the capability to send the applications straight to the Housing providers directly from the Dynamics CRM system. In order for this phase to be successful Intellicore would need to work with each of the housing associations to ensure their systems are capable of receiving the data in this manner.

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