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NOTTING HILL GENESIS

DIGITAL REPORT 2021

Notting Hill Genesis: A thriving digital transformation IN ASSOCIATION WITH


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Notting Hill Genesis: A thriving digital transformation www.nhg . or g . u k


NOTTING HILL GENESIS

Rajiv Peter, Director of Digital Technology, talks technology transformation within one of the largest housing associations in London and the South East

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otting Hill Genesis was formed in 2018 following the merger of two Londonbased housing associations, but the

company’s roots actually stretch back to the 1960s, when a group of local people gathered with 04

a shared vision to house low-income families and individuals in west London. This commitment hasn’t changed in the decades since. Rajiv Peter joined the company in 2017, having started his career as a systems analyst to help local governments in England achieve digital targets. More recently, he was head of digital at PEX software. He has an MSc in Information Systems from the London School of Economics under his belt and researched technology in direct democracy and governance at the same school. As the Director of Digital Technology at Notting Hill Genesis, he’s leading their digital strategy and technical transformation. “From a purist point of view, there is no sector that can’t be digitised,” he says of implementing


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“There is no sector that can’t be digitised” — Rajiv Peter, Director of Digital Technology, Notting Hill Genesis

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NOTTING HILL GENESIS

“Technology creation has become more affordable in the last five or six years. It’s within the realms of any organisation to create its own software” 06

— Rajiv Peter, Director of Digital Technology, Notting Hill Genesis

a digital culture at an organisation that has been established for over 60 years. “The core component of what we call digital is not tied to any sector. These are portable skills, and these are portable technologies.” “What has really changed is that we’ve moved from a system where external companies create software and we take it on to being more platform-based. Bespoke technology creation has become more affordable in the last five or six years. I think it is within the realms of any organisation to create its own software.”

DIGITAL TRANSFORMATION IN THE HOUSING SECTOR The advantage of this is being able to offer a more streamlined total experience for colleagues and customers. “In the past the problem was that you usually had one software company delivering everything, and they’re good at one or two things but at most of them they’re just ‘okay’. What we are moving towards is being able to pick and choose what you want, and then bring it all together with our own software. If you look at Amazon’s


1960s Year founded

website, there may be many systems underpinning it, but you as a customer don’t know they exist because it’s a seamless experience.”

$550m+ Revenue in US dollars

2,100 Number of employees

Before NHG started on this journey, it had minimal digital capability in-house, so it engaged with external suppliers to provide this capability and to create the building blocks. The next stage was for Rajiv to enhance that capability by creating a new digital department and hiring new staff. Now, Rajiv says, the company is in complete control of its technology and design; it

E X E C U T I V E P R O FILE :

Rajiv Peter Title: Director of Digital Technology Company: Notting Hill Genesis Rajiv Peter joined Notting Hill Genesis as Solutions Manager in 2017. Responsible for the group’s software engineering and digital architecture. During the group’s merger in 2018, he was made the Director of Software and Support and helped consolidate the systems of both organisations, integrating it into a single layer for both customers and staff that included payments, arrears, and repairs, called WorkWise. He was subsequently promoted to Director of Digital Technology.

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NOTTING HILL GENESIS

“Using technologies makes us more efficient and cheaper to run; that goes into the profit which goes into building more homes” — Rajiv Peter, Director of Digital Technology, Notting Hill Genesis has started on the next stage and has 08

been working with offshore companies based in India. This gives NHG better value for money, scalability and commercial options.

In the longer term he sees an

A key aim for Rajiv is providing

opportunity to create revenue from

value to the business by making cost

technology. But for now, an immediate

efficiencies. “Housing associations

benefit for customers has been open-

are generally structured as charities.

ing new channels of communication.

Most of our surplus comes from com-

“They can now contact us 24 hours

mercial investments, so we have to

a day and they can digitally see the

create and sell properties, just like any

same information about themselves

other provider. The profit we make we

as our staff, because both are using

re-invest into our core business. Using

the same system. Just as if they were

technologies makes us more efficient

going on to Amazon to buy a product,

and cheaper to run, that goes into the

they can also raise a complaint, or

profit which goes into building more

request a repair at any time of the day,

homes” he says.

and it’s all recorded centrally.”


Rajiv says the COVID-19 pandemic was a catalyst for their digital journey this year. Staff had already been provided with laptops and a digital interface - WorkWise - so they were able to start working remotely almost instantly. NHG also used serverless, low-code technology to create a new app that connected to a database and provided dashboards to key stakeholders in the business, automated messages to teams, and emails with information such as which staff were off-sick. It also helped to identify employees who were happy to step

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Learn more


With over 20 years of industry expertise, our experience allows us to engage with you across a multitude of business sectors and markets enabling your organisation to adopt digital processes and offshore models to achieve outstanding results Our unique and flexible outsourcing model enables seamless integration with your process, bringing significant cost savings, whilst enabling you to focus on your core requirements. Why are we different? Neo Technology’s business model is focused on maximising the experience of its UK based senior team, with a flexible and agile approach to upscaling and downscaling FTEs for projects, delivering cost savings passed on to you. This is made possible by careful segmentation and simplification of your requirements, enabling a streamlined approach to development, where the skills of the IT professional are focused on coding and leaving the nuances of requirement analysis and project management to the respective business leads. Our ambition is to deliver efficient and exceptional technology solutions to differing business requirements, using an offshore model that works for you. Notting Hill Genesis Partnership Notting Hill Genesis started their digital transformation journey recently with the launch of a new user portal. Having had the core of the platform designed and built by a third party, they decided to bring inhouse the challenges of system enhancement and maintenance.

Due to the combined growth in platform usage and ambitious development goals, Notting Hill Genesis found themselves needing to expand the capacity of their in-house IT team. This was approached with a mix of permanent and contractor staff. However, recruiting, on-boarding and training adequate IT specialists was a time-consuming and costly process and Notting Hill Genesis needed a more flexible solution. Neo Technology partnered with Notting Hill Genesis to deliver an experienced sprint development team, for one of their key work streams. With a short onboarding timeframe, the team acquired the necessary knowledge of the technical stack and were quickly self-sufficient.

“ We are driven to deliver efficient and exceptional technology results by applying innovative and scalable solutions which benefits the customers ambition to drive down costs.” The onboarding process, utilising Neo Technology’s senior UK based team, has empowered Notting Hill Genesis to refine strategic decisions across all their work streams. Today we partner across a range of work streams such as migration, integration & support and are the preferred partner in their Digital Transformation journey. Having outsourced teams from Neo Technology, Notting Hill Genesis have extended their development capacity and negated their contractor management requirements. In addition, this has achieved substantial savings against their contractor costs.

Learn more | neotechsolutions.co.uk www.nhg . or g . u k


NOTTING HILL GENESIS

“A huge shift is going to happen and COVID is definitely a factor in this” — Rajiv Peter, Director of Digital Technology, Notting Hill Genesis

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in, where needed, if there was a staff shortage in critical services. “This was one of the things that completely changed the minds of people in terms of what the possibilities are. Because we couldn’t work from offices all the paper-based systems presented a challenge, for instance invoices that would have previously been printed. Some of the manual systems we automated very quickly and were able to digitally track colleague workloads, for example in HR, to make sure that it was streamlined and evenly distributed. All these things were implemented very quickly; people were very keen to use the technology.”

AN EXCITING FUTURE Rajiv believes that we are entering the most exciting period since the internet was developed. “A huge shift is going to happen, and COVID is definitely a factor in this,” he says. “One of the biggest things is probably 5G, and it will probably take about five years to roll out because it requires a lot more infrastructure than 4G, just because of the frequency bands it covers. This will be an enabler www.nhg . or g . u k

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NOTTING HILL GENESIS

for other complementary technologies around devices taking information, in other words IoT. “This is currently maturing, as the cost of these devices is falling quite rapidly. You can then create a virtual world, which is a replica of the physical world, where you’ll be able to visualise a whole building or even a city. This will help us to make better decisions, both individually but also connecting to machines to make autonomous decisions and acting on them, both locally and centrally. If, 14

for instance, a lift stops working somewhere, that information can be passed to our system and the system could automatically send out a repair job to a supplier, who can then repair it.” “It could also detect things that humans can’t detect, like water pressure reducing gradually over a long period of time, which could be an indication of something that’s gone wrong like a leak, or a generator losing power.

association. It’s also become far more

Then we can intervene much earlier

accessible thanks to pay-as-you-go

and treat the problem.”

cloud platforms.

Rajiv says that these uses of arti-

“This sort of automation will ramp up,”

ficial intelligence create a better

he says, “because citizen developers

experience for customers, but are also

and software developers can all use

more cost effective for the housing

those ‘human literate’ technologies to


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be more efficient. Things have moved from buildings to the private cloud, then to the public cloud by using one of the core providers like Azure, Google and AWS. In the future it will be spread out between different cloud providers but controllable from any one of them.� www.nhg . or g . u k


NOTTING HILL GENESIS www.nhg.org.uk

P0WERED BY

Profile for Business Chief Europe

Notting Hill Genesis Brochure Jan 2021  

Notting Hill Genesis Brochure Jan 2021  

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