Founded in 1974, Black Country Housing Group is a housing association that works closely with local communities, comprising of 2000 homes in Birmingham and the Black Country. As a social business investing in people and communities, they deliver high quality, innovative services such as repairs and employment services to make a difference to the lives of local people.

The problem

Before Intercity Technology started working with Black Country Housing group, their many issues included inadequate and outdated handsets, poor customer service, delays in getting requests actioned, lack of account management and high costs. Undoubtedly, these multiple issues caused frustration and inefficiency in daily operations, whilst leading to low levels of business productivity and performance

The solution

Intercity Technology deployed a collaborative approach to resolve their issues. As a world class customer service provider, Intercity Technology offered mobile users a bespoke solution involving unlimited voice and text, which reduced costs and provided more value for what was paid. In addition, Intercity offered a mobile device management (MDM) solution to help Black Country Housing Group secure their devices and manage mobile users, offering their IT team visibility of the mobile estate.

As Steve explains, “Mobile Device Management means that we can review usage, roll out new applications and locate where devices are at any time – all through a single screen.”

Black Country Housing’s Account Manager at Intercity Technology states that, “An effective mobile strategy is essential for any business but especially in the housing sector. It’s vital for staff to be out in the community working with residents. Mobile devices have encouraged this interaction and information can be sent back to the office quickly, which has reduced time and made employees more productive.”

“I was really impressed that Intercity took the time to find out about our aims and objectives as an organisation to uncover the right solutions for us.”

Steve Kesterton, ICT & MIS Manager, Black Country Housing Group

Due to more employees being able to work efficiently in the field, there has been an increase in visits to tenants and more repairs have been completed. Mobile working ensures that employees who are visiting residents can communicate on-the-go and send messages back to the main office immediately. This means that they can fit more visits or repairs into their working day, enhancing their overall productivity levels.

Further business benefits include better flexibility, reliability, cost savings and the ability to secure company data. Information can also be communicated easily to users working remotely via MDM. The Black Country Housing Group account is now pro-actively managed, with requests actioned by dedicated co-ordinators. Regular meetings and account reviews are held, whilst the client is offered usage reports and any other required information.

As for the housing sector itself, the most obvious changes over the past five years have been the introduction of mobile devices and the improved functionality of the software running on these devices. There is now less distinction between historically office-based applications and mobile applications. As a specialist in the housing sector, Black Country Housing’s Intercity Account Managers says, “Technologies that enable ‘presence’ will continue to evolve onto mobile and wearable tech and that could lead to field workers being able to engage with more information than is possible today. For example, rather than calling for urgent assistance and having to wait for an expert to arrive, a first-line support worker could video conference the expert via a mobile device to diagnose any issues remotely and guide the people on the ground to resolve issues rather than having to travel there themselves.” This demonstrates that there is more potential to be explored for the Black Country Housing Group in the future.

“Mobile Device Management means that we can review usage, roll out new applications and locate where devices are at any time – all through a single screen.”

Steve Kesterton, ICT & MIS Manager, Black Country Housing Group

With the overall project completed on schedule by November 2014, Black Country Housing’s Intercity Account Manager concludes, “In addition to excellent levels of customer service and account management, we provided the right technology to resolve the group’s challenges and assisted them in achieving their overall objective of investing in people and communities. We are proud to have become an important and dependable partner to Black Country Housing Group.”