Housing corporation future-proof thanks to Ctac’s sector-specific SAP platform
Vivare is modernising the IT environment with Fit4Woco, a cloud platform developed by SAP partner Ctac for housing corporations based on various SAP solutions, including SAP S/4HANA. As a result, the housing corporation benefits from more efficient processes and a future-proof IT infrastructure.
Vivare is a housing corporation active in the Arnhem region. The organisation has some 25,000 rental properties in its portfolio, offering approximately 55,000 people a home. It is important for Vivare to be able to fully focus on its core business, in which IT plays a supporting and facilitating role, in particular for all kinds of standard processes relating to rental, maintenance (both customer-driven and systematic) and new construction.
However, the existing IT environment was on its last legs a few years ago. “From the standardization point of view, we were already using SAP. However, we had a lot of customization. In addition, the support on the older SAP solutions was slow. This made it difficult to implement changes and keep track of developments,” explains Wolter Bosch, Vivare’s Computerization and Automation Manager. “Simple security updates were often difficult. The IT environment was not agile enough for the future.”
In 2016, Vivare and SAP partner Ctac gathered around the drawing board for an IT innovation program. “The first project was a classic migration to SAP HANA, followed by other standard components. However, it soon became clear that this would be too heavy a program for Vivare, and that it would also lead to the same tailor-made problems.”
At the end of 2016, Ctac decided to change tack and build a fully integrated SaaS cloud platform that supports all core processes. Not only for Vivare, but for the entire housing corporation sector. This was Fit4Woco, a total platform based on SAP S/4HANA, supplemented with all kinds of (partly optional) solutions and extensions such as SAP Analytics, SAP Service Cloud, SAP Cloud Platform Integration (CPI), SAP Fiori and SAP Marketing Cloud.
As a launching partner, Vivare started using the cloud platform as the first housing corporation, with Ctac adapting the solution here and there to the needs of Vivare. “As little as possible. During the joint process, the starting point was that wherever possible Vivare should adapt to the standard processes of the SAP solutions, instead of the other way around,” says John Jaspers, Business Development Manager at Ctac. “Of course, change management then plays a major role, because some existing processes simply have to be overhauled. But in the end, that is the way to create as much flexibility as possible with as little customisation as possible.”
After a one-year development and implementation process, Vivare started using the solution at the beginning of 2019. With success. Bosch: “Vivare can now fully focus on the core business. In fact, we no longer even have people with IT functions or responsibilities in house. Fit4Woco simply comes out of the tap. In addition, thanks to the latest versions of the solutions, we are ready for future updates and new developments.”
More efficient processes
Many processes benefit from the modern SAP platform. “For example, project and portfolio management of the real estate department used to be done in separate applications. The data had to be transferred to SAP periodically, and once every few weeks our finance department would see how things were going. That was manual, complicated work. Now, project management, including calculations, is done in SAP, and every change flows directly to the general ledger. As a result, Finance has an almost real-time view of the state of affairs,” says Bosch.
In addition, according to Bosch, the entire ticket system for service requests has been greatly improved. “Our service technicians can view the details of an appointment on their smartphone and immediately update its status. This saves on subsequent administration. In the past, this was done via paper forms, which were then manually inserted into the customer contact system.”
All processes relating to the annual rent increase are now also much smoother. In advance, the housing corporation had to calculate the rent increase for all customers in all kinds of scenarios. Bosch: “A huge job. Now the system calculates the rent increase itself on the basis of various variables such as income and the maximum target rent. That saves a lot of work. In addition, all the underlying specifications are directly transparent to the tenant.”
“In the future, we also want to use the SAP Marketing Cloud component within Fit4Woco. This will allow us, for example, to replace our current solutions for sending out mailings. We also have plans for more customer interaction on the website. With SAP Marketing Cloud, we are laying a foundation for this.