Alysium Consulting was appointed by Salix Homes to design a blueprint and subsequently assist with the procurement of the technology required to implement its digital ambitions.
The initial focus was to design the infrastructure to meet Salix’s computing and telecommunications requirements and to provide a modern, flexible and value for money solution which would meet the challenging business requirements of the organisation over the next five years. This needed to meet the challenges of both making the workforce able to work in a more agile way allowing greater flexibility to work in communities and the locations where customers’ demand services and also to encourage customers to engage in efficient, digital ways with Salix.
A design of core IT infrastructure, including an omnichannel contact centre was agreed. Technically this built on foundations of the latest hardware, network services and applications levering flexible cloud services wherever possible. At end-user level, the solution needed to be device-agnostic allowing staff to fully access services from a range of office, portable and mobile devices and allowing emerging devices and other technologies to be deployed as these become commercially viable and can be supported by business cases.
Having agreed the technology stack which would underpin these sophisticated business requirements, a soft market test exercise was facilitated by Alysium to enable Salix to engage with the supplier community in order to consider the options available and to confirm budgets.
Having agreed the requirements, various procurement options were examined which were capable of acquiring the required services and, wherever possible, supporting local suppliers. Alysium worked with key Salix personnel to develop a detailed technical statement of requirements and the associated documents required to support the tender processes.
Our technical consultant, Phil Riley, provided technical support during the procurement process, applying supplier and technology insight to enable Salix to fully evaluate the options available and make the awards.
The resulting contracts have seen Salix Homes join forces with leading cloud service providers to further enhance its digital services and become the first housing association in the country to fully embrace a range of public cloud technologies including Microsoft Office 365 and Azure.
The project involves migrating Salix Homes’ everyday operations onto Microsoft Azure, moving its on-premise CRM system to Microsoft Dynamics 365 and transferring all of its employees onto Office 365. For telephony and contact centre, Salix will move onto cloud services providing leading edge Unified Communications and Omnichannel Contact Centre services.
The move is part of Salix Homes’ commitment to ‘Rethink Housing’ in order to cope with the demands of a modern, digital world and will ensure it can offer fully digitalised services to residents and increase internal capacity.
Chris Henry, ICT manager at Salix Homes, said: “Alysium provided invaluable support from the early stages of the project when we were considering the different technology and service delivery options, through to turning it into reality. This exciting development marks the next stage in our journey to become a forward-thinking housing association of the future – enabling us to implement our digital ambitions and improve our services. With the new service provision, we will have the flexibility needed to develop and innovate our services, giving us the agility we need to meet the challenges facing the social housing sector both now and in the future”.
“We’re rethinking the way we deliver all of our services in order to meet the demands of a modern world and are confident that this ambitious upgrade of our ICT infrastructure will provide the foundations for a first-class digital experience for our colleagues and customers.”
Salix Homes is already leading the way for digital innovation in the housing sector, after recently unveiling its MiiHome research project, which has seen smart-home sensors installed in the homes of some of its elderly residents to monitor their welfare.
It’s hoped the new service provision will enable Salix Homes to further develop its smart home technology in the future, which could include the introduction of intelligent household appliances, such as self-reporting boilers.
Phil Riley, added: “Salix Homes is truly leading the way for digital innovation in the housing sector. It’s setting out an innovative blueprint for the rest of the industry and we’re looking forward to seeing its journey unfold.”