I.T. and Public Housing: What is Your Total Cost and Maturity?

The NetwiIT Network of professionals at housing corporations organized a very interesting session today at the International Social Housing Conference.  Henk Korevaar the director of the network facilitated and led the  sesstion

As a participant and critique I learned quite a bit.   The average I.T. costs for a public housing association in the Netherlands is $170 per unit or 151 euro or 133 British Pounds.  The costs per work station (including tablets) in the Netherlands is $10.50 euro and the cost per full-time employee is 16 euros.  Interestingly enough they find that larger housing associations do not necessarily have lower per unit or user costs than small ones.  There are around 1.5 work stations per employee in the Netherlands. I have never seen the total cost of ownership calculated for I.T. services in the social housing industry but it makes sense.  Bench-marking costs and sharing data could be revolutionary if every country started doing the same.  Think of the learning environment that could be created if every public housing agency could compare apples to apples!

We all understand that in a world of increasing I.T. complexity, I.T solutions are becoming key instruments to match resident requirements to the housing association’s available stock.  In Amsterdam, a group of housing professionals gathered to discuss challenges and ideas in regards to I.T. and social housing.   The group that organized this group is called NetwIT and they represent the Dutch social housing sector.  Their model is to share knowledge.

Housing Association-Total Cost of Ownership:  

What items are looked at?  How do social housing associations compare and calculate total cost of ownership?  The group spent some number of years coming up with definitions.  Some of the items that are looked at are:

  • Cost per unit
  • Cost per Fte
  • Cost per workplace
  • Cost per user account
  • Maturity of ICT
  • Cost of software applications
  • For large capital projects you need to depreciate the costs over a certain number of years.

One important thing here is that figuring out the total cost of ownership is not to just see who is doing good or bad but to learn.  The total cost of ownership is more than the hardware but is also the people, systems, software and even consultants.

Leen Spaans I.T. manager of WoonForte in Amsterdam with 11,000 units spoke of his experience.   Of note, is this housing organization is being taken over.  He believes it is important to get numbers because IT is more important everyday and every process at a social housing organization is dependent on I.T.  It is a substantial cost driver and his organization wants to be in control of their costs.  By figuring the total cost of ownership, it gives his organization a good view of developments within in their I.T. costs

In the Netherlands, 50% of I.T. costs are the software, 27% was people/staff, 7% was telecom and the rest fell into network/data, workstations and servers and storage.   The housing associations that outsource end up paying more per unit (173 euro per unit vs. doing it in house at 144 euro per unit.)  It is more likely that small housing associations are outsourcing.

I.T. Maturity: 

The conversation carried on into the afternoon and revolved around end user support and whether or not an I.T. department has a mature end user support network.  They actually came up with a measurement for the level of maturity of an I.T. department  The score is made up of many factors including how skilled the help-desk is, availability %of calls resolved at first contact, reaction time and end user happiness.


Visit Here to See Website for NetwiIT.

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