We have seen a marked increase in consultants marketing Microsoft Dynamics as a single solution for social housing landlords. Some even suggest they have ‘vanilla’ functions designed to focus on all of a landlord’s business processes, that can be tailored further.
Dynamics is an immensely powerful tool for its intended purposes. Within the social housing sector, Dynamics has been used to replace key housing management functions and we are supporting some of our own clients who are utilising our solution APIs to integrate with Dynamics.
As a Microsoft house, we have substantial Dynamics experience and obviously investigated its use for our own asset management products when we began their modernisation back in 2021.
We did not pursue that route despite having all the asset management knowledge and asset management data and process knowledge in-house, as well as Dynamics knowledge and experience. The reason being that, despite its rapid development capability and GUI capabilities, it would not allow us to build the transaction and transformational complexity that a reliable and flexible asset management system requires. We chose to develop our new Asprey Assets system using other Microsoft and related technologies for both functionality and reliability.
Dynamics can provide solutions for many of the database and workflows involved in housing management. However, it has no marketable advantages compared with any other development medium when it comes to complex manipulation and complex data systems in areas such as asset condition and compliance management. This prevents Dynamics competing with best of breed asset management solutions such as Asprey Assets. Within this discrete area of property management, we are best of breed for a reason.
Whilst the promise of a single solution utilising Microsoft Dynamics is attractive, its shortcomings are not always visible until user organisations are part way through an implementation. We have seen several failed projects in this sector that attempted to replace asset management solutions. Unfortunately, these failures often occur after a large spend commitment has already been made.
Aside from Dynamics’ inability to mimic the required functions, these projects suffered from
Excessive implementation times (often abortive)
Vast spend on external consultants to assist in design and delivery.
An associated large increase in internal IT staff levels to support both the delivery and on-going support/adjustment of any final offering
A narrow perspective on functionality requirements compared to Asprey’s twenty plus years of collective corporate knowledge and experience of the sector and its IT requirements
In the field of asset management, Dynamics is not an off the shelf solution. Dynamics can be tailored but doesn’t have commercially proven functions.
Dynamics needs to be developed from the ground up and from what we have seen, whilst the Dynamics consultancies and their developers probably have exceptional Dynamics expertise, they lack sufficient sector specific experience and best practise knowledge. They leverage from their clients’ knowledge to build a solution, whereas our clients benefit from leveraging our wide sector knowledge.
Indeed, what a best of breed supplier, such as Asprey, offers, is not just a proven solution now (delivered efficiently), but the ability and mission to continually scan the operating environment of our customers, expanding our existing business and sector knowledge and, through our continued heavy investment in R&D and benchmarking across our customer base, supporting our users’ changing business needs via our solutions. All this is our responsibility and at our cost, not our clients.
Marius Buragas – Development Director – Asprey Management Solutions