Fully integrated

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Streamlining the software architecture was the task assigned to Aareon UK by British housing association Torus. The merger of two housing companies to form the Torus Group resulted in a number of IT challenges, but Aareon UK was up to this demanding job, ensuring that its customer was equipped to face the digital future.

“Our information and communications technology platform should be able to support everything we do,” says Debbie Trust-Dickinson, Director of ICT & Transformation at Torus, highlighting the importance of information technology for the company. It was consequently hardly surprising that Torus had stringent requirements when it started looking for new housing and financial management systems capable of networking a wide range of data and users. To complicate matters, Torus was not simply seeking a like-for-like replacement, but needed to amalgamate various systems of two companies with specific functions following the merger of Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing Trust to form the Torus Group. Flexibility was also a must.

The Group’s IT had to be able to evolve in line with the requirements of a growing organisation in the digital transformation process – which is to say that it had to be absolutely future-proof.

Creating synergies
Torus did plenty of advance research, issuing an invitation to tender on the highly competitive UK market. Following a thorough analysis of various housing and financial management system offerings, the company eventually opted for Aareon Smart World with the Aareon QL ERP system. Aareon UK had the edge on its rivals because it combines the housing and financial management functions in a single system.

80 %
of Torus’s customers
should be able to access the housing association’s digital services by 2020.

What’s more, the digital ecosystem Aareon Smart World is capable of providing and networking plenty of other functions too. This supports the housing association’s corporate objective of giving some 80 per cent of customers digital access to its services by 2020. With this goal in mind, Torus is planning to use further integrated digital solutions, such as an internet portal for tenants or for the invoicing of service charges.

Everything from a single source: Aareon Smart World enables housing companies to map and manage all their business processes digitally.
Photo: Getty Images

“The selection of an IT service provider to implement an ERP system for the entire Torus Group was an important milestone for us,” says Trust-Dickinson. A complex project got under way as soon as the decision had been taken in Aareon UK’s favour. Aareon UK organised a workshop with Torus and other existing Aareon customers with a view to integrating all of Torus’s functional requirements in the ERP solution to the benefit of all Aareon customers. “It is a proven approach of ours to involve customers in product development at an early stage. We use this method in many projects and will continue to do so in the future, as it pays off handsomely,” says Nick Wheals, Senior Account Manager at Aareon UK. It means that new customers benefit from the practical experience of existing ones, while the latter can profit from the ideas and requirements of the newbies. The existing Aareon system had extra functions added to it as a direct result of the workshop. “The workshop organised by Aareon played an extremely important role in the further development of the asset management solution we wanted. This approach also ensured that the product was developed to the benefit of all customers and users,” stresses Gary Howard, Asset Data Intelligence Manager at Torus.

Successful streamlining
Following intensive support from Aareon during the planning and implementation phases, the system is now up and running. The many projects in which Aareon UK has been involved have given it a wealth of experience in product implementation. This has resulted in the development of best practice methodology, which creates clear workflows and measures and ultimately ensures a successful project. The high level of complexity and over 20 different predecessor systems meant that the introduction of Aareon QL at Torus took over a year. This mammoth task has had the effect of streamlining the software architecture considerably.

60 %
of the maintenance costs
that Torus Group has each year have been saved thanks to the implementation of the Aareon QL ERP solution.

Torus now boasts a flexible and future-oriented IT solution. Aareon QL provides Torus staff with a uniform interface for convenient and intuitive use across all system modules. They can keep tabs on the over 22,000 homes managed by Torus with Aareon QL on its own behalf as well as for third parties without undue effort. Many automated processes render manual steps – which are often prone to error – superfluous. Last, but not least, there is very good news on the financial front for Torus too: the company now saves 60 per cent of its annual IT maintenance costs.

Basis for digitalisation
“The new system provides us with all customer, asset and financial information from a single source and enables us to simplify processes and work more efficiently. It also forms the basis for the future digit­alisation of our company. We are delighted to be able to implement this in partnership with Aareon,” concludes Debbie Trust-Dickinson.

Aareon Smart World

  Read more about  Aareon Smart World, the networked ecosystem for the housing sector. Here you’ll find all the functions and benefits at a single glance.

Aareon QL

Aareon QL is a fully integrated software solution for the property sector that enables digital mapping and management of all the business processes of a modern housing company. CRM, apartment, repair, financial, HR and asset management can be networked in a digital ecosystem with the help of Aareon QL.


Torus manages around 40,000 homes in the north-west of England. The Group was formed in April 2015 following the merger of Helena Partnerships and Golden Gates Housing Trust. A workforce of around 1,500 staff supports some 74,500 customers.