Case Study: EDRM for Castles and Coasts Housing Association

TSG and Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) began working together in 2020 to replace CCHA’s legacy document management solution. This evolved into a partnership aiming to provide employees with a better user experience and improve issues around stability, efficiency, and compliance.

Castles & Coasts Housing Association (CCHA) owns and manages more than 7,000 properties in rural and urban communities across the North of England, with the vast majority located in Cumbria. Formed in July 2017, through a merger between Two Castles Housing Association (TCHA) and Derwent and Solway Housing Association (D&S), CCHA provides properties for people in the regions it serves, including single people, couples, families, and sheltered housing for the elderly.

Prior to engaging with TSG, CCHA had identified that its legacy electronic document and records management (EDRM) solution was no longer meeting the organisation’s requirements.

Using the old system, CCHA staff would often struggle to find the documentation they were looking for and had trouble managing retention periods which in turn had an impact on efficiency and effectiveness.

As with any document management project, GDPR compliance was at the forefront of the agenda as the organisation began to look for alternative solutions and providers, with a desire for better levels of integration and the ability to build on existing platforms as another key driver.

With these requirements in mind, CCHA took to the G-Cloud procurement platform which, in itself, gave the organisation a greater degree of confidence and assurance that the potential suppliers they were interacting with had been thoroughly vetted for their capabilities in delivering industry-leading solutions and services.

It was from here that CCHA began its journey with TSG, whose dedicated housing team helped initiate the conversation and move the project forward to the discovery stage.

The vision for the project was to ensure all documents were clearly classified, organised, secure, and stored electronically. CCHA explored other out-of-the-box solutions but chose SharePoint as the best platform for its EDRM project, with the technology ticking all the boxes in terms of efficiency, functionality, user experience, and greater compliance. Due to already having a Microsoft Office 365 subscription in place, CCHA benefitted from maximising its previous investment in technology by utilising SharePoint licences already available to the organisation. This removed unnecessary outlay costs to purchase a new piece of software and assisted with the rationalisation of the CCHA IT estate.

TSG worked closely with CCHA’s talented Business Improvement Team to migrate the organisation from its legacy system and build a new user-friendly EDRM system that would enable agile working and improve overall employee efficiency. Building the solution in SharePoint provided a more flexible and accessible system with CCHA’s requirements in mind, incorporating the necessary legal and regulatory requirements to improve compliance and allowing for seamless integration into the rest of the Microsoft 365 platform and the organisation’s housing management system (HMS).

The team at CCHA adopted a strong change management approach in which TSG trained SharePoint Champions from CCHA (representatives of teams from around the organisation), who then developed a training package and trained the wider colleague-base. The type of training delivered ensured CCHA would be equipped to further develop and enhance the system once implementation was complete. The skillset developed could then be utilised to support the team in developing other Microsoft-based solutions.

By working closely together, the EDRM project ran smoothly and successfully, and the deployment of the solution was rapid.

Like any complex project, there were bumps along the way, but the positive and collaborative approach between TSG’s Housing Team and CCHA’s Business Improvement Team throughout the development and implementation process ensured any challenges could be addressed quickly and effectively with ongoing communication, meaning that all requirements were addressed and fulfilled.

Engagement, training, and awareness building with the wider organisation throughout the project meant that, when go-live came, CCHA employees knew exactly what to expect. The new EDRM solution has been a huge hit with CCHA’s staff in terms of its ease of use, the speed at which documents can be uploaded, and the overall organisation capabilities within SharePoint.

Along with improved user experience, the new system has better uptime, minimal issues, and greater compliance when it comes to GDPR. CCHA now feel extremely confident in its EDRM solution, and the partnership is going from strength to strength, with other opportunities to work together already being explored.

“The project was managed extremely well; the design and deployment of our solution was rapid thanks to the talent and drive displayed by both organisations. Through this collaboration we developed a great partnership based upon mutual understanding and respect.”

Paul Foster, Head of Business Improvement

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Categories: Case Studies, Housing