We’re coming to the end of our organisation’s current ICT strategy cycle. Back in 2012, I wrote it as a three year strategy and looking back at the plan, I’m really proud of what colleagues have delivered – we’ve completed most of the projects on the plan. Others we set aside, as not longer relevant, and a couple of new ones have taken their place. Overall, we’re pretty much where we planned to be at this stage. This closing 2012-15 cycle had a combination of a couple of new strategic initiatives (online customer services and the start of a migration to cloud-based services), some big, but routine, tactical projects (significant version upgrades to core systems: housing management and telephony), and a head office move thrown in for good measure. To channel Henry Ford for a moment, I’d characterise it as (much) faster horses plus a couple of go-karts. Our online services in MyTVH is certainly a go kart.
But I’m now thinking about cars.
I want to widen out the ambition, so we meet a wider range of user needs online. I want to create great tools that staff love using. And I want to really leverage our data for insights to improve customer service and efficiency.
This time, I think an (even) more visionary, strategic approach is needed. An ICT strategy that delivers the same old things, just faster or marginally better, just won’t be delivering the step change needed. If HAs are to be modern well run businesses as we head towards 2020, we really need to focus on meeting the user needs. How many IT Directors or Housing Directors really feel their organisations IT meets user needs? And really sort out out approach to data. Our sector has shed loads of it. And too much of it is trapped in systems without APIs, spreadsheets or worse still, in PDF documents.