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Eden improve value for tenants through digital technologies with Orchard

Cumbrian based Eden Housing Association, who manage 2000 homes primarily in the Eden district, have signed a further 5-year partnership with Orchard as they transform their business to provide improved services to tenants, comply with increasing regulations, and maximise value from their budgets.

The housing sector has witnessed a number of changes in recent years, including rent reduction under the Welfare Reform and Work Act 2016, and increased health and safety regulations. As well as this, the sector as a whole has been cautious about investing in digital technology, whilst customers are beginning to expect a digital offering from their housing providers. 

As a result of these developments, Eden felt the need to invest in their business through digital transformation, with the aim of not only improving efficiency and streamlining operations, but also improved services to their tenants.

Eden’s digital solutions needed to align with their core business goals of being a good social landlord and providing value to their tenants, and so identifying technologies that could help them to improve business efficiency (and therefore direct more resource towards providing a valuable service to tenants) was paramount. 

When Eden’s small IT team found themselves struggling to produce their best work with multiple systems, they began to look at their overall strategy and software systems. After a review of their core systems and performance, plus an exploration of different options in the wider market, the team at Eden came to the conclusion that the strong core functionality of Orchard’s solutions provided the perfect fit.  

“The team at Orchard have a similar attitude to us as a business, and their teams are friendly, approachable and willing to help. We have dealt with other organisations where we don’t get that, and it does make a difference.” – ICT Business Partner, Eden Housing Association.

Signing a 5 year agreement with Orchard means that Eden now has access to the full range of Orchard modules and solutions, which has allowed them to move more of their operations into a single system, improving efficiency and providing a single data source across the business.

The benefits are already being felt, by Eden’s team.

As part of the implementation of the systems, teams from Orchard and Eden have conducted workshops to investigate how the system can be best implemented to provide Eden with the results they need. Consultants from Orchard have been able to build an understanding of how the team at Eden run their business, and guide them towards the solutions best placed to improve operations for individuals and the company as a whole. 

Through these consultant-led workshops, the team at Eden have identified significant savings, and with ongoing support are continuing to identify further opportunities to cut costs. 

ICT Manager at Eden Housing Association, said: 

“We’ve worked with consultants in the past but this time round it felt different, in that Orchard’s consultants have given us the ability to really take an active part in the workshops. They’ve very quickly built an understanding of how we work in the business, and have given us control and stepped in where necessary. Post-workshop support has meant we’ve been able to achieve a lot more than we’d originally planned. We’ve had a great experience with instant responses and access to our consultants whenever we’ve needed them – they really went above and beyond.”

By digitising and automating processes across the business, team members are able to reallocate their time and resource into adding value to the business and providing quality customer service. For tenants, new technologies such as digital self-service facilities will provide a polished, user-friendly experience, offering convenience and transparency.

Digital solutions are also helping Eden to efficiently record and manage inspections, testing and servicing of their assets and housing stock, allowing them to improve efficiency and reduce paperwork across all areas of compliance.

As technology is automating and streamlining many operations, the team at Eden are now able to devote time and energy into providing increased value by better aligning their services with what their customers value most. 

Looking to the future, Eden are keen to continue to invest in new systems that provide value for their tenants both by providing services and benefits to them directly, and through improving the operation of the company, allowing the team at Eden to invest further into customer service. They’re looking to invest in their stock to improve energy efficiency, which will hopefully aid their tenants through more affordable running costs, and improve their environmental impact through the use of renewables. 

Making best use of technological advances available is important to us. We see Orchard as a massively important strategic partner and are invested in a long term open and honest relationship.

John Clasper, Chief Executive, Eden Housing Association

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