If you have executive responsibility for your ICT services and risks, then you may not be sleeping very well at the moment. The risks from the cost of living crisis has brought a more intense focus on ICT budgets and digital projects. So how do you get the best value for money from your limited resources, whilst having sufficient expertise to manage your technology risks?
Social Purpose – Be closer to your customers
The recent intense scrutiny of some of the service failures in the housing sector has put resident needs firmly and correctly at the top of the agenda. When working closely with customer experience teams, the job becomes easier. That is because the best way to prioritise projects is to work backwards from customer needs and expectations and pinpoint the specific areas that are most in need of improvement. From there, the alignment with ICT initiatives becomes clear.
Business Need – Be closer to your suppliers
One of the reasons that housing management systems are in decline is because they have not been invested in. They are unloved and neglected, possibly even on outdated and unsecure versions. Improvements are declined because single purpose applications have been procured without integrating the data back into core systems. In architectural teams they have been built upside down and without the necessary essential services to meet the modern day needs of their occupants. In this emerging environment, the role of a business architect takes on added importance as a technology educator to leaders.
Data driven – Be closer to your data
The Regulator for Social Housing has identified data security and data integrity (quality) as growing risks (Sector Risk Profile 2022). Accurate, up-to-date, complete, and reliable data are fundamental for boards to monitor areas such as rent setting, financial management, stock condition, tenant needs and expectations, health and safety, and meeting consumer standards. In almost every high-profile maladministration record keeping has been an issue. In some cases this is because data is stored in multiple ICT systems and staff are unsure or untrained in maintaining, updated and/or deleting information.
Digital Impact – Get yourself a trusted digital advisor
As a minimum every board should have at least one board member who is an expert in digital, technology or ICT governance and risk. It’s still surprising how many boards are missing this skillset.
However, if you’re a Finance Director or Corporate Services Director who isn’t an ICT professional that I suggest you think about leasing the role or finding a coach, mentor or trusted digital adviser. Even if it’s on one day per quarter or on call-off basis. Not only might they provide knowledge and insight and architectural guidance, but they might also broker some of those siloed business relationships. Ideally, you’re looking for a collaborative thought leader who knows how to harness technology to solve business problems.
The business environment is changing, and many unknowns will remain. ICT teams can expect a closer inspection of their plans and goals. By anticipating the business questions needs, you will be in the best position to use the current uncertain climate to show leadership in aligning technology decisions more closely to business outcomes.