28th February 2012
With over 57,000 homes and a 100-year history, Affinity Sutton is one of the largest providers of affordable housing in England. As a business for social purpose, the organisation is committed to helping people put down roots. It acts as a springboard, maximising life chances for residents and creating places for communities to thrive. Over the last 24 months, the business has gone through a major transition project to consolidate systems and processes, including a Group amalgamation in October 2011. “This transition has been one of the biggest change projects in the sector,” says Chris Battye, Head of Business Systems for Affinity Sutton
“Its aims were to address the management, systems and governance of the Group organisation which meant combining staff structures, bringing systems and processes into a single Affinity Sutton approach and legally amalgamating the three large Registered Providers in the Group into one."
Having decided to adopt a new solution, Affinity Sutton outlined the key benefits they expected to achieve with it. “To ensure consistency, accuracy and efficiency, we wanted a single system across the whole group. We also wanted to ensure that purchasing decisions would be based on sound information. In addition, by improving budget management we would have better control over expenditure from all budget holders. Each of these objectives would potentially help to save costs throughout the organisation, as well as increase productivity and reduce the amount of time spent on basic administration,” says Battye.
Affinity Sutton put out to tender for a new P2P solution through the Official Journal of the European Union (OJEU). “To ensure we selected the right solution for the Group, we included the business in the selection process and therefore ensured a number of representatives were part of the selection team. Workshops were conducted over a number of weeks with the aim of listening to a variety of views and trying to understand everyone’s needs as well as gathering business requirements and discussing best practice business processes to help optimise the implementation. We used the information gathered to ensure that we were using the right criteria to select the right system, but we also needed to be sure we were selecting the right supplier.”
Battye adds, “The key to this project was in selecting the right system and supplier and to plan and manage the implementation as quickly and effectively as possible. We decided to work with Capita IB Solutions because they had a proven and established product and demonstrated their experience and capabilities for a smooth implementation and comprehensive project management. We received a number of presentations and visited several reference sites which enabled us to develop a broad and accurate picture of what Capita IB Solutions would do for us and were very confident in our decision.”
“The implementation has gone very well and we are already realising the benefits of the chosen system. Capita IB Solutions has been an excellent and flexible partner that has understood our needs and helped us implement the system in the way we wanted. The depth of our preparation and the involvement of the right people from Capita IB Solutions from the start of the process has meant the implementation held very few surprises and has been delivered on schedule and under budget. We look forward to continuing a long and positive relationship with Capita IB Solutions,” Battye concludes.