The Radian Group worked with Active Housing to produce their new customer portal 'MyRadian' which was delivered in just 67 days.
Who is the Radian Group?
Radian Group is one of the largest housing associations in the South of England. In November 2019, Radian Group officially formed a new partnership with Yarlington Housing Group with the aim to deliver even more for its customers by providing more homes, building stronger communities and transforming services.
The exciting partnership between Radian and Yarlington created a new organisation with over 39,000 homes and assets, 1,350 staff members, 79,000 customers, and a combined asset register worth £6bn.
Prior to the partnership, Radian was already a digitally-minded organisation with strong in-house IT and web development capabilities, having built their own tenant portal and integration middleware layer.
In recent years, Yarlington has been considered one of the UK’s leading digital landlords after their successful ‘MyYarlington’ customer portal project and was fittingly awarded ‘Digital Landlord of the Year’ at the UK Housing Awards in 2019. It is, therefore, no surprise that online customer self-service functionality was high on the agenda during partnership talks between the two organisations.
As the existing partners to Yarlington, Active Housing was invited to discussions between Radian and Yarlington early in the process. Active Housing helped to establish a strong digital roadmap by leveraging Radian’s in-house capabilities, alongside Yarlington’s highly successful digital strategy and the latest sector-leading Active Housing products.
After some deliberation, it was decided that their new vision around customer self-service would be delivered in a number of phases, ensuring certain areas could be addressed quickly and changes could be easily accommodated as the partnership talks progressed.
Staged approach: Phase 1 of the project would be to replace the existing in-house MyRadian portal, which covered Radian’s 25,000 properties, with Active Housing’s Active Portal product in addition to Active Housing’s repairs reporting and permission requests modules.
Agile Methodology: It was both organisations preference to use an agile delivery methodology. An Agile delivery would ensure that both organisations had full visibility of the project delivery and allowed for changing requirements. The portal was delivered in fortnightly sprints allowing Radian the ability to test and perform engagement throughout the delivery with key stakeholders and end-users. Daily standups and show and tells were also utilised to ensure regular communication between the project teams.
Challenges to be overcome
Challenge #1: Rapid delivery
The main aim of replacing the ‘MyRadian’ portal was to bring the Radian offering more in line with the ‘MyYarlington’ portal as quickly as possible. This presented some challenges as the ‘MyYarlington’ portal was developed and continually improved over a number of years and had functionality and logic very specific to Yarlington.
This challenge was overcome by utilising Active Housing’s flexible customer portal product, Active Portal, in conjunction with the Active Diagnostics module for repairs reporting and the Active Requests module for permissions requests. Given the success of MyYarlington, a number of features that existed in the MyYarlington portal had already been implemented into the new Active Portal product. This provided a solid foundation for Phase 1 of the project. Any features that had not already been accommodated were analysed through the data available and either implemented or placed in a backlog for a future phase.
Challenge #2: COVID-19
When project discussions initially started, a worldwide pandemic was not anticipated. As Phase 1 made a start amidst growing concerns over COVID-19, an onsite project kickoff meeting took place in late March 2020. The next day the UK was thrust into lockdown. This was an extremely challenging and unrehearsed situation, and with both organisations working from home, it’s no surprise that the pandemic was quickly number one on the project risk register. Although in most circumstances a pandemic may have allowed leeway with delivery deadlines, the MyRadian portal was instead increasingly seen as an absolute priority, as it offered Radian a new, enhanced way to communicate with customers without the need for face-to-face contact. As the delivery deadlines remained unchanged, this posed a challenge to all teams.
Video conferencing and messaging technology including Teams, Google Hangouts and Zoom were utilised and strengthened by an Agile delivery methodology. Aside from a few remote working teething issues and a challenging few weeks before launch, Active Housing and the partner teams pulled together to perform incredibly well under exceptional circumstances delivering on time.
The new MyRadian portal is a significant leap in online self-service functionality for Radian customers. Some of the key features tenants benefit from include the ability to:
● Register and login
● Select and manage privacy settings
● Manage multiple tenancies from one account
● View account balance and statements
● View and update tenancy and household information
● View and update personal and contact information
● Make a payment (including guest payments)
● Diagnose a repair and select an appointment
● Track upcoming repairs with the ability to cancel and reschedule
● Review completed repairs and provide feedback
● Request permissions (e.g. pets) with instant outcomes
● Review permission requests
● Utilise accessibility features via Browsealoud
● Chat to Radian staff member via live chat
Staff and administrators have also benefited greatly from the new portal. The portal’s extremely powerful content management system and admin facility enable them to:
● Manage registered users
● Add, edit and manage on-page content
● Add, edit and manage repairs diagnostics scripts
● Manage repairs reporting logic and business rules
● Add, edit and manage permission request scripts
● Set global and page notifications
Success so far
MyRadian launched on 1st July 2020, just 67 working days after the project commenced. Active Housing achieved an extremely fast completion time despite the challenges of a nationwide lockdown. The portal gained over 5,000 registered users in the first four weeks alone, with over 40,000 logins and almost 50% of total repairs reported online.