1.“We’ve been using spreadsheets for years and they’ve always been ok”

 Spreadsheets are great, in fact we use them all the time but unless you are an Excel wizard, they are limited and don’t give you the range of uses that you get from an AM system.  A lot of property records can be held in multiple spreadsheets but unless they are all linked up, if you update one, you need to remember to update them all.

You can’t attach a photo or a copy of an EPC to a spreadsheet and unrestricted access rights for different users can leave you exposed to unauthorised editing or amendments. HUB gives you a single point of reference for financial planning, SHQS compliance, EESSH assessments and investment decision making. Even our spreadsheets can’t do that!

 2.“Once you start using IT, it all gets too complicated”

 IT can be very complicated and we’ve seen some AM systems out there that we would struggle to understand and we’re in the business! However, it doesn’t have to be that way. In fact, if it is done correctly it should be really easy and straightforward to use and shouldn’t need three days training to get you to understand the basics.

Good IT should make your life easier and take the burden out of the tasks it is designed to manage and it should be written to be understandable to its target user base. Too many AM systems are created as a means of demonstrating how clever the Developer is and to show how many bells and whistles they can add in, whereas the needs of an Asset Manager are fundamentally very straight forward and so it is essential that any AM system understands those needs and is written specifically to address them.

 3.“We’re just a small Association so we don’t need one”

 Being small doesn’t mean you can’t benefit from an integrated AM system. All Asset Managers are faced with the same challenges irrespective of the number of properties they manage and having a single source for accessing all your property data and being able to generate up-to-date, clear and concise reports about the status and condition of your housing stock will benefit all stakeholders and any third party auditors.

We’re a small organisation too but anything that saves us time and makes us more efficient is a welcome addition to our toolkit.

 4.“We can’t afford one”

 There are a lot of software companies out there who sell elaborate, complex Asset Management systems and will charge a kings ransom for the privilege of using it. Sometimes, the initial outlay is only the start and by the time you add in maintenance and support and then all the bolt-ons for the functions you thought you were getting but which weren’t included, it’s easy to see why the perception is that these systems are thought to be expensive.

Pricing models need to be simple, transparent and proportionate to the size and complexity of the end user. Having a pricing structure that is directly linked to the size of the individual organisation makes complete sense to us and ensures that HUB remains affordable for smaller Associations as well as the larger ones. In addition, by operating on an annual licence basis we can keep the initial capital cost to a minimum and provide all the support and maintenance you need under a single, clear price.

 5.“We’ve got a Housing Management system that has an Asset Management module already”

 The phrase “Jack of all trades, master of none” springs to mind here and sometimes the AM function is added on to a Housing Management system as a bit of an afterthought as an opportunity to charge you more. Asset Management is a specialist area in its own right and any system needs to be built around meeting the specific needs of the Asset Manager.

So many times, we have heard our clients say, “we’ve got an asset management module on our main system but it doesn’t really give me what I want and I don’t really understand how to use it anyway!”

We don’t do Housing Management software, or Accounting software or HR software. We are Surveyors who have worked in the social housing sector for over 30 years and we know property management and maintenance. HUB is built around this experience and knowledge of the sector and the needs of the people who work in it.

 6.“We know all about our houses without having to look at a computer.”

 There’s a lot to be said for personal knowledge of your housing stock. Sometimes this has been built up over years of experience, dealing with tenants, contractors and consultants so much so that you have a huge wealth of knowledge and can reel off when your next bathroom contract is due and to which properties.

This is very often however only in someone’s head and can remain so even after they have left the organisation or if they are on holiday for a week and someone needs to know what is going on. This valuable source of information is even more valuable if it is held somewhere where everyone can access it and it remains with the organisation throughout staff changes or absence. We spend a lot of time speaking to individuals within Associations who have this knowledge to make sure it gets built in to the core data shared across the other users.

 7.“I don’t like computers”

 That’s a bit like saying “I don’t like television”. It’s not the computers that people tend to dislike, it’s what is on them that causes this fear and in some cases, we fully agree! If computers hold a fear for you because you don’t like or understand the way in which you are expected to use them then you’re not going to use them, it’s that simple.

We recognise this and our aim has been to build a product that does away with this fear by making HUB easy to use, simple to understand and clear in how it does it. It’s not in our interest to create something that scares people and so we’ve built a very user friendly product that doesn’t compromise in quality or sophistication but is designed to make your life easier.

 8.“The guys that sell them know about computers but not about Housing”

 Our company, SID Asset Management Ltd. has evolved from our surveying background. Our sister company, JMP is a firm of property and construction consultants that has worked within the social housing sector for over 30 years. We have worked with dozens of Housing Associations and Councils over the years, helping them build, manage and maintain their housing stock and have worked closely with Development staff, Maintenance staff and Asset Management staff at every level and throughout Scotland.

We have carried out Stock Condition Surveys to around 100,000 dwellings and have been at the forefront of developing practical, affordable and sustainable investment programmes over the short, medium and long term for 15 years. In short; we know about Housing.

HUB was created by us because we knew what our clients wanted but we couldn’t find an existing product that gave them it. Now we can!