As part of its recently launched strategic change programme called Vision 2012, Catalyst Housing Group brought in ThoughtWorks to overhaul its systems to enable the not-for-profit organisation to double in size.
Catalyst Housing Group, which provides more than 14,000 affordable homes in London and the South East, operates using a selection of off-the-shelf and in-house developed systems. ThoughtWorks is tasked with migrating these systems to a single, tailor-made Tenant and Property Management System.
ThoughtWorks recognised that redeveloping its core business systems was a major challenge for Catalyst Housing Group and being a non-profit organisation was constrained by a limited budget. With a particular interest in projects where technology can positively impact society and community for future generations, ThoughtWorks worked closely with Catalyst Housing Group to maximise its budget to define a solution that would enable Catalyst to expand its core business of building quality affordable housing.
ThoughtWorks started the project with a visioning exercise that allowed Catalyst Housing Group to define its understanding of success for the new system. Over the next 4 weeks, a series of interactive workshops brought end-users and domain experts together from across the group to map out the fastest and most effective way of delivering value to the organisation.
The system development has now started, with a ThoughtWorks team in London and India working alongside Catalyst Housing Group’s user stakeholders and technical staff. Using Agile development techniques, the goal is to create a system that has capacity to double the current payment transaction levels while providing additional flexibility, efficiency, a lower total cost of ownership and an improved experience for staff and residents.
Chris Wade, CIO for Catalyst Housing Group, said: “Our existing systems and processes had become increasingly costly to maintain and were a barrier to change as they were unable to support our ambitious growth and service improvement plans. The new system will double existing capacity and provide for future growth – by enabling us to adapt and change quickly it will deliver huge advantages. This project is absolutely fundamental to our organisation as our IT systems, coupled with our organisational culture, play a vital role in making a real difference to the communities we serve.”
Nick Hines, UK MD for ThoughtWorks, commented: “ThoughtWorks is delighted to have been selected as Catalyst Housing Group’s partner for this project. Overhauling any business-critical systems is a complex and high risk task – but it’s our core focus area. Our experience and tailored Agile approach will provide the valuable reliability, collaboration and predictability needed for Catalyst Housing Group’s peace of mind. Both organisations share very similar values which is why we worked with Catalyst to find the most cost-effective and affordable solution for them. This project is an excellent opportunity for us to work with an organisation that provides a valuable social role – something which is very much in line with our own core values.”
ThoughtWorks, Inc. (thoughtworks.co.uk) is a global IT consultancy providing Agile-based systems development, consulting and transformation services to Global 1,000 companies. It has pioneered many of the most advanced and successful Agile methods and best practices used in the industry today. At its core, ThoughtWorks helps CIOs maximise investment performance across a portfolio of complex, business-critical applications, while reducing time and risk. Its products division, ThoughtWorks Studios, offers tools to manage the entire Agile development lifecycle through its Adaptive ALM solution, comprised of Mingle, Cruise and Twist. ThoughtWorks' 1,300 professionals serve clients from offices in Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, India, the United Kingdom and the United States.
About Catalyst Housing Group
Catalyst Housing Group’s work includes housing regeneration schemes, low cost home ownership, general needs housing, sheltered and special needs housing, residential care homes, and key worker accommodation plus various community based initiatives including training. Operating in an area of considerable housing demand, from central London along the Thames Valley to Oxford and Reading, the Group currently manages over 14,000 homes. Catalyst (chg.org.uk) is the parent company of three housing associations: Catalyst Communities Housing Association, Fortunegate Community Housing and Kensington Housing Trust.