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Case Study: Aster Group – Procurement and implementation support


When she worked for Tribal Group, Claire Bayliss was commissioned by Aster Group to help procure and implement housing management and financial management software, to provide a single housing management system across the group and enable the group to ensure that best practice was shared across the group.

Aster Group wanted to consolidate business processes and provide a single point for the management of core business data about its customers and properties.

Aster Group is a regional housing association group providing services to over 75,000 customers and managing over 27,000 homes across central southern and south west England.

Business drivers

Aster Group is always looking to transform the way it works to offer better services, extra value for money and more customer involvement. In 2008 it was delivering services using three different housing management systems, three different finance systems and multiple bespoke databases and spreadsheets. It was keen to procure the right tools to manage its information in a way that would support enhancements to its service delivery and provide a consistent platform to support system integration across each of its business areas.

Why Claire Bayliss?

Aster Group commissioned Claire Bayliss when she worked for Tribal Group, as she has extensive experience of procuring and implementing business applications within the social housing sector. As a former housing manager she has the experience of the business of social housing from a practitioner’s perspective as well as a comprehensive understanding of the current and future technology deployed or being developed to address the changing demands of the housing sector.  Claire had the right knowledge and experience to develop a specification of business requirements, design a procurement process and support the group through the implementation of the software.

Project objectives

  • To consolidate business processes across the group
  • To procure software that would act as a hub for business information, ensuring sound management of that information
  • To ensure the right systems were in place to enable the Group to enhance existing services and develop new ones
  • To support the group in delivering business efficiencies

Project outcomes

  • The group procured the QLx housing system from Aareon and the Sun Accounts finance system from Infor.
  • The QLx system implementation was overseen by Claire and was went live according to plan.
  • The QLx system provides the central repository for all customer data and is now known internally as ‘The Hub’.

Conclusion

Roy Thompson, IT Director at Aster Group commented:

‘Claire was able to understand our requirements and helped us to develop a specification of requirements that accurately reflected our needs. She helped us to design a procurement process using the Buying Solutions framework, which enabled us to structure the procurement process around our requirements and focus our activity on solution providers with a strong track record in the sector.

Claire supported us well through the procurement, advising us of aspects of the suppliers’ bids that we would not necessarily have been immediately aware of ourselves.

She then provided good advice throughout the implementation, helping us to structure the project team correctly, plan the project realistically and put the appropriate governance measures in place. She also provided good advice and support to our project manager assisting with the development of project documentation.

I would recommend any housing provider looking to procure software to talk to Claire. We liked her approach so much, we’ve asked her to provide assurance and project management support on our current review of Care and Support information management.’