Social housing providers are spoiled for choice with Housing Management Systems (HMS) available in the UK. Their customer service teams need a reliable, easy to use system, whether a Council, ALMO or Housing Association.
So, if you’re in the market for a new Housing Management System, which one will best fit your organisation’s requirements? Well, going out to tender is probably the sensible way to answer that question.
However, many social housing organisations want to offer better customer service than they would get through standard diagnostics packages, or with diagnostics packages that come bundled with a HMS.
Using Keyfax Intelligent Scripting, many social housing organisations have recognised they can dramatically improve their customer service. So, it is useful to know which HMS integrations are readily available with a standard Keyfax integration.
Housing Management Systems integrate with Keyfax as a plug-in for Repairs and Enquiries, using one of three methods:
These run from the oldest, the Keyfax legacy client, to the newest – the RESTful API.
So, we’ve pulled together our top ten favourite Housing Management Systems for social housing.
Whilst this is not the biggest Keyfax user group, we see more customers moving to Dynamics 365 than any other HMS. Dynamics customers prefer the great pictorial interface of Keyfax. The graphical interface makes it easier for their staff to deal with customer enquiries and repairs requests.
The KeyNamics integration to Dynamics 365 provides, perhaps, the most flexible and powerful of the integrations listed here. It supports Cloud and On-premise environments, and will operate with Dynamics CRM 2016 or newer. Developed in-house at Omfax, it makes mapping inbound and outbound repairs data a cinch.
Some of our biggest customers use Dynamics, which shows that the Keynamics and Keyfax combination is proven in the most demanding environments. Additionally, there’s a RESTful integration to the Microsoft Dynamics Power Platform portal coming soon. So, tenants will soon self-serve through the standard Microsoft portal, using Keyfax Online.
More Keyfax customers use MIS ActiveH for their HMS than any other. Many of them use the MIS TIPS Customer Portal too, for online tenant self-service. Besides the KeyNamics integration, MIS is the deepest integration with Keyfax, using the Keyfax client.
The MIS-AMS SQL ActiveH Repairs integrates with Repairs Diagnostics and the CRM applications with Keyfax Enquiries. Both are designed to offer a variety of integration requirements, without needing to recode either Keyfax or the MIS-AMS SQL ActiveH applications.
MIS-AMS developed an interface to its SQL ActiveH Repairs and CRM applications, which makes the Back Office SQL Server Database available. Through a series of structured objects, Keyfax can read and write relevant data.
Currently, the second largest Keyfax user group is OPENHousing users. This is a long-established and well-proven integration that uses the legacy Keyfax client. It launches both Keyfax Repairs Diagnostics and Enquiries Diagnostics.
Capita designed the integration with the intention of being inside the network, so https was not required. Which means that an on premise OPENHousing Server launches the Keyfax client. To configure Keyfax requires an update to the OPENHousing Keyfax.p file.
The original integration used the legacy Keyfax client. But, in 2020, Omfax worked with the Aareon QL development team to produce a web-services integration using the Keyfax SOAP API. Which means that the Keyfax client is no longer needed (as of QL version 4.8). QL simply launches Keyfax in a browser, so there is no client software to install in Citrix.
A few users launch Keyfax from a Kirona Job Manager host. Whilst Kirona is more of a Mobile Workforce Management application, rather than an HMS, it’s a good host system to launch Keyfax Keyfax Repairs Diagnostics from.
Kirona (as they were before Advanced) built the integration in 2018 . Being a more modern integration, Kirona chose the Keyfax SOAP API for integration. Therefore, no Keyfax client is needed. And Kirona launches Keyfax from an SSL certificate protected site. E.g. https://keyfax.ourhomes.org.uk.
The UH and Servitor integrations both require the legacy Keyfax client. However, the CM integration, which integrates with both Repairs and Enquiries, does not.
Civica have designed newer integrations, using SOAP web services, for Civica CX. But it’s not clear from Civica if these integrations are part of their core product.
Some of the Keyfax customer base use TotalMobile. Rather like Kirona, TotalMobile is less of a HMS and more like Field Service Management Software.
Nevertheless, it has a standard integration with Keyfax Repairs & Enquiries Diagnostics using the SOAP web services. No Keyfax client is required.
For a long time, Orchard Housing integrated with Keyfax. This was originally Orchard ArcHouse and then ArcHouse Plus. This is one of the few integrations where Omfax built a specific integration KF_ArcHouse.exe.
When ready to run a Repair Diagnostic, Orchard Housing launches the executable KF_arcHouse.EXE. Through nine command line arguments, Orchard sends Keyfax all of the tenant and asset data that it needs.
A few of the Keyfax customer base use the Northgate HMS. Originally, Northgate built the integration for the Northgate Sx3 Housing, some time ago, and it was well specified. Even now, some of the busiest Councils handle all their repairs through this SOAP web services integration.
More recently, there have been a couple of opportunities for Northgate to update this integration. And whilst they seem keen, the approach (up until now) seems to be to charge the customer to rebuild the integration from scratch. We are still hopeful that they will see the advantages of building on, and updating, the existing integration, to design a standard integration to Keyfax.
Just two per cent of Keyfax customers have built their own systems that they use to manage their housing assets. Some of these were built a while ago, so they are using the Keyfax client for integration.
So, if you’re considering a ‘build your own’ approach for a HMS, Keyfax is easily integrated using the SOAP or RESTful web services APIs.
This is not an exhaustive list of Housing Management Systems, rather a ‘top ten’ which offer integration with Keyfax. But even the ‘new kids on the block’ can build a robust integration with Keyfax quickly, through its’ RESTful API or SOAP web services.
If you have an existing HMS that’s not listed above, please come and have a chat with us. We are happy to guide you through the integration options.