The housing sector is on a trajectory of rapid change, seeking technological solutions to new and different customer demands and expectations. Many providers are rethinking the types of services they provide, the way they are delivered, and how they are structured. Digitalisation is the future and the sector needs to respond now.
These were the conclusions of a survey of 70 housing organisations across the country undertaken by Altair, working in partnership with 3C Consultants, the findings of which are today published in the first of a series of three reports which aim to:
- Forecast a vision for housing in 2025
- Reflect what transformation is taking place in the sector
- Identify what can and is being learnt from innovation across housing and from other sectors
This first report, which focuses on forecasting the vision identified by respondents for housing providers in 2025, found that 65% of organisations are currently transforming their organisations, and a further 29% are planning a transformation programme, driven by the need to be more commercial, more agile and more efficient in the light of less government grant and dwindling rental income.
Full digitalisation, supported by an agile workforce able to respond to changing demands and pressures, was seen as a prerequisite for the housing provider of the future. Yet 44% of respondents saw themselves as either digital conservatives or digital beginners.
Encouragingly over 24% have implemented or experimented with digital applications and a further 29% feel they understand how to drive value with digital transformation. These are the so call ‘Digirati’ who have invested in carefully coordinated digital initiatives. are learning from other sectors and are genuinely transforming their businesses.
These organisations recognise that organisations will need to provide responsive services that customers want, while operating more efficiently. It’s also likely that a range of new products will be developed to meet the needs of different customers, who have different needs and expectations compared to those of today.
With technology at the forefront of this transformation, technology and digitalisation expertise is likely to increasingly be needed at executive and board levels in the sector. Although it is difficult to predict exactly what will be required in 2025, the report concludes that existing providers should brace themselves for significant changes. This may include new entrants that entirely disrupt existing business models and practices. In this future, successful housing providers will have made a step change in the way they think and the way services are provided.
The second report in our ‘future gazing: future shaping’ series will explore key trends around how the sector is currently approaching both innovation and transformation, including examples of who is doing what. The third report then explores what interesting innovations can and are being learnt from other sectors on the journey to a vision for 2025.
If you would like to discuss the findings in more detail, or would like to attend our networking dinner in Birmingham on Thursday 8th December, where you can find out more about the research and speak to like-minded housing leaders, please feel free to contact any of the following: