How to embrace digital transformation in Social Housing

Undoubtedly the Social Housing sector is facing a digital challenge. But what do we even mean by ‘digital’ in this context? ‘Digital’ is a broad term and it is highly likely that your perception differs to that of the person next to you. But does this matter?

Rather than answering this question, what we really need to do is to recognise where it is we are trying to get to on our digital journey and the reason why we have decided to embark on that journey in the first place. 

The start of the digital journey should not be thinking about ‘digital’. Instead, start by understanding the journey. Know where it is that you want to go and keep it simple by taking the most direct route wherever possible, much like you would when embarking on any car journey. Always have the end destination in mind and that will inform the decisions you take along the way to getting there. After all, realising that you don’t understand your assets whilst on your digital journey is no different from realising that you need to get fuel whilst on a car journey. It’s a diversion but it’s still part of your journey.

‘Digital’ as a philosophy, as a set of technologies, as a way of communicating and a way of doing business, already exists. Businesses around the globe have already trodden this path, successfully. All the technology to solve your challenges exists, you just need to know and own the journey.

Knowing your journey

We are all a part of society, personally and professionally; as we make this journey, this ‘Digital Transformation’, it’s important to remember that millions of others have already undertaken a similar journey. The benefit to this is that there are footsteps to follow; there is help available and there are lessons that can be learnt. The most important of all doesn’t even involve ‘digital’, it involves people.

Fear makes the wolf look bigger

Being afraid of something, does make the ‘thing’ bigger, harder, scarier. Digital can be that ‘thing’ – if we don’t fully understand it, it can seem a little scary. How else would you refer to a journey with endless pitfalls, twists, turns and uncertainties? A journey which challenges much of what we’ve known and done for generations. After all, the model of Social Housing hasn’t really changed since 1972!

Now, whilst you may not consider yourself to be fearful, perhaps the first step that needs to be taken is admitting that these things are ‘daunting’ if not for ourselves, for others. Let’s recognise that fear does exist and will exist across our teams, our businesses, our boards and our customers. Fears about our jobs and livelihoods, failure, non-compliance, our safety; the list goes on and on. We’re genetically hard wired to feel fear, especially of the unknown. Ultimately, we’re not all completely comfortable about our journey and how we get there.

One of the biggest reasons that digital journeys fail, above and beyond starting with the technology and failing to effectively map the journey, is the people. We don’t live in a futuristic world without human intervention; we live in a ‘Centaur’ world, where humans and technology co-exist to support one another. 

Rather than serving to replace one another, they are interdependent on one another. Technology can’t work without people, and fundamentally, people can’t work without technology, especially in the modern age. However, fear will exist around adopting new technology whether universally across the organisation, or in pockets. It will definitely be there in some form. We therefore need to recognise this and work with people to help them overcome their fears, to encourage and empower them to work with technology and to join the digital journey and ultimately make the wolf look smaller and friendlier. If we don’t, whether consciously or subconsciously, those in fear will sabotage digital transformation and we will fail to overcome the challenges facing the Social Housing sector.

Now is the time to make changes and make a really positive impact within your organisation. In our next blog ‘The Social Housing sector’s digital transformation – what to focus on’ we explore the essential areas to focus on within your journey. If you would like to find out more about how job management software can assist within your journey, please contact our team of friendly advisers today who will be happy to answer any initial questions you may have. If you’re ready to see our job management software in action, please request a demo.