Plentific explains how COVID-19 has created more agile ways of digital thinking

By Shariq Kochhar - June 26, 2020

This #DigitalHousingWeek, get Cem's thoughts on the future of procurement and property management. Learn why he believes collaboration is at the heart of solving the biggest compliance issues across the sector.

“COVID-19 has made us realise that working from home is possible, but only if you understand how to digitally run your business – and a lot of organisations don’t."

In his recent Q&A, Cem tackled two complex subjects - the pandemic's effects on workplaces and setting a new precedent for compliance in the sector.

Focusing on the lockdown first, he stated the impact this 'new normal' had on repairs and maintenance teams across the sector.

"Lockdown has made it difficult for repairs and maintenance teams to carry out compliance checks. Work was put on hold, thousands of contractors stopped work and only emergency work was done, all of which has had an impact, resulting in a backlog of repairs and pressure to reach compliance standards."

He elaborated that Plentific's ongoing work with the sector's largest clients helped him understand very early on that property management companies needed to offer agile backup solutions to essential works and compliance activity during this time.

When asked what the future looks like for compliance, in light of COVID-19, he spoke plainly about the biggest risks we must be wary of.

The first of which, he said, was resident safety owing to manual processes.

He explained that most housing providers, whilst deeply focused on tenant safety, don't have the technical capacity to allow for tenants to 'self-serve'. He believes digital innovation can improve tenant satisfaction because it sets a format and standard for issues.

He cited online retailers and the customer service they've been able to transform, from the ground up, to create a new paradigm. He then juxtaposed this with how a digitally-enabled tenant might think about their household repairs and maintenance.

He explained why housing providers, even with the right approaches, might sometimes struggle to innovate:


"When you deal with orders in your personal life from an online retailer, you expect to be able to track the order and delivery, and complain if it doesn’t arrive. In social housing, landlords are using off-the-shelf products and contracts developed 20 years ago. There’s no room for innovation. But we are seeing the industry come together with standardised workflows and tasks, along with a more standardised safety certificate. There is now room for transparency."

 

This is an exciting time for property and housing. A digital transformation of the built environment is imminent and the pandemic has accelerated what would've typically taken years into a handful of months. Cem's optimistic about a similar disruption for compliance - but he believes it won't happen without the right collaboration in the sector.

Read Cem's interview in full here.

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