28 February 2018

Those attending Driving Business Transformation in Housing in May, the first National Housing Federation conference dedicated to driving transformation will no doubt hear a lot about the ‘what’ of transformation, and will learn from those within and outside the sector who have a success story to share about their own particular business’s transformation.

When I share our own particular story about how Torus has transformed its business over the last three years, I am often asked how those delivering the change programme gained the buy-in of the senior team, the board and colleagues. They tell me that although the IT team are on board with the need to transform, they struggle to make the business case to the wider organisation. Those working in IT can immediately see the transformational power of the latest chatbot or headless user interface, and can get frustrated with those working around them who just don’t seem to get it.

The ‘how’ of transformation is just as, if not more important than the ‘what’. It’s those softer aspects of change leadership, engagement, customer behaviour and gaining buy-in, which are actually the hardest to crack.

From our perspective, this has meant building transformation into the corporate plan and ensuring measures of success are reflected in the board performance metrics. It has meant creating a clear vision and communicating this consistently so colleagues understand the business benefits and want to get on board. We have built our analytical capabilities and use the power of data to create a compelling story about our customers and their ability to switch to digital.

We’ve also harnessed the power of storytelling, encouraging our front line teams to share their digital success stories on Yammer using the hashtag #digitalfirst. We’ve engaged teams in re-engineering their processes and working with our digital partner to design end to end customer journeys. We’ve created digital champions who support colleagues as well as customers to get online. And we’ve built digital and IT transformation into our performance framework so that every colleague is held accountable for their own contribution to transformation.

So when I attend Driving Business Transformation in Housing in May I’ll be seeking out the insights into the ‘how’ – those nuggets of learning from those who’ve successfully transformed their business. These are the things that are hardest to replicate. Simply buying the same IT system or engaging the same digital partner will not automatically deliver the same transformational success. I’d encourage anyone attending the conference to ask the questions and have the conversations that get under the skin of how transformation has been delivered, and come away with the ‘how’ as well as the ‘what’.

Liz Haworth

Liz Haworth is Group Director of Delivery and Transformation at Torus Group

Liz Haworth is the group director of delivery and transformation at Torus, a leading housing provider in the north west of England. She has recently led a two year transformation programme integrating two housing associations to form Torus, migrating to a common IT platform across the group and achieving Investors in People Gold, whilst reducing operating costs by £20 million. She is passionate about driving transformation in the social housing sector through engaged people, passionate leaders, inside out brand development and a digital first customer experience.

Driving Business Transformation in Housing – the who, what, when, where and how