The merger checklist:Bringing two housing associations together

Not a month goes by at present when news of a merger between two or more large housing associations is announced. Mergers promise a new larger entity the opportunity to raise significantly more capital and the ability to refinance to fund a greater building programme than would be possible as smaller, separate entities. And with only 350 UK associations with an estate of over 1,000 properties, the trend will continue to alter the housing association landscape and impact housing management technology vendors too.

So how do you bring two or more organisations’ housing management systems together to create unity for the greater good of efficiencies, rather than double your problems and costs? We have worked with a number of merging organisations, and from experience, this would be our checklist:

  • Make sure IT is centre stage; it can be the difference between merger success and failure.
  • Consider which route to take, ‘adoption’ of one organisations system, or ‘alignment’ of both together. Or the third option, which is to start from scratch.
  • Make sure you know which direction the ‘new’ organisation wants to go in and that your processes and housing management system can help you achieve this.
  • Decide which technology provides the most efficient solution and the most advanced way of working in order to be fully integrated and provide an advanced workflow engine to streamline the business processes.
  • Assess costs; the more IT interfaces you have, the greater the cost of alignment and on going maintenance costs. Think about installing an integrated solution to eliminate the number of interfaces.
  • Make sure you’re comparing like with like; do both organisations measure KPI’s from the same starting and end point? If not, be careful not to choose your housing management solution on the wrong performance data.
  • Consider the project management costs; your IT merger team will have to be removed from other duties to achieve merger success, and their roles back-filled.
  • Think about your residents. What will make their lives, and your employees lives easier, and how will that drive the IT agenda?

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