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Mears Group has been investing in property technology to get ahead of the game after expanding its housing management division into student accommodation.
Mark Blyth, IT business manager for the division, explains: “[The expansion] almost slowed down our one-system type approach [because] as well as migrating companies we’ve acquired, we’ve also bought a new business stream at the same time.
“It’s been very labour intensive, as some of our legacy systems use a lot of free text fields. Plus [they’re] all custom built systems, so finding the support to work with them has been a challenge.”
But the task at hand soon became easier when Mears drafted in Veco™ to help.
“Veco™ has been instrumental in helping us migrate the information out of [these] legacy systems,” says Blyth.
“Next year is about bringing us up to speed with the market in terms of mobile working and online portals [for employees], which is what we wanted to achieve in the first place,” he adds.
Blyth expects to invest more of his budget in property technology in the coming year, which he believes is crucial to be able to grow the business.
He says: “Technology is essential in getting ahead these days. Just a few years ago, technology was something you had and had to support, whereas there’s very little you can do in your business that doesn’t impact on IT now.”
Given that Mears’ housing management division saw revenues increase by 86% to £41.0 million for the six months to 30 June 2016, almost double the £22 million reported for the first half of 2015, and that its housing division as a whole accounts for 84% of group revenues, it is no wonder that Blyth is so focused on investing in technology moving forward.
Agency peers with a similar commitment and desire to succeed would be wise to follow suit.