News | March 7, 2012

Shian Housing Association Turns Filing Cabinets Into Treadmills With Invu Document Management System

Digitised document management allows housing association to access information for tenants faster, improve customer service and finance processing and limit its dependence on filing cabinets, and install a staff gym in their place!

Shian, a Housing Association catering for the housing needs of ethnic minorities in Hackney, Islington and Haringey, has implemented Invu Document Management Software to improve customer service levels by speeding up the invoicing process and improving overall access to documentation and information.

Simultaneously, Shian has also been able to reduce its reliance on and investment in storage space by digitising its paper records, thereby enabling the housing association to convert office space previously used for filing and storage into a staff exercise area.

Shian was established in 1989 to cater for the general housing needs of ethnic minority people in Hackney, Islington and Haringey. Currently, the Housing Association manages over 500 properties and is developing a further 40 – a portfolio of properties that can accommodate over 150 residents.

Prior to adopting the Invu Document Management Software, Shian was carefully storing all documents, ranging from tenancy documents to the housing associations invoices and financial paperwork, in two dedicated filing storage rooms. This process required staff to manually locate files before most queries could be answered – including those from the tenants themselves. Clearly, given the sheer volume of documentation involved, this process was both time-consuming and inefficient and prevented audit trails of tenancy agreements or supplier invoicing being readily created.

A key motivation in the decision to adopt a Document Management System was improving Shian's ability to process the documents flooding the financial department. In excess of fifty individual invoices were received into the 2-person financial department on a weekly basis, with each invoice needing manual formal approval – a requirement that added up to 10 minutes onto the processing of each invoice.

Leslie Laniyan, Managing Director at Shian comments, "Investing in Invu Document Management Software has enabled us to digitise a backlog of documents, free up office space in the process and also improve our financial processes. We are now in far better control of the documents and able to deal with invoices as they arrive."

Laniyan continues, "The digitisation of our tenancy documents has also improved our customer service – of vital importance for any housing association. While we pride ourselves on the level of service that we provide for our residents, the Invu system will enable us to increase our response times massively as staff will no longer have to manually search for information with which to answer the query. Instead of taking in excess of five minutes to locate the relevant file, they will now have access to it in seconds."

Laniyan continues, "The office space that the removal of the manual process will save us will enable us to use it more effectively with the intention of turning some of the space into an exercise area to enhance staff benefits within the organisation – something we could have never even dreamt of providing previously."

Commenting on why Invu was chosen, Laniyan concludes, "Opting for Invu was an easy decision for us to make. The experience that Invu has in the social housing sector meant that they were able to understand our requirements immediately – and help us to understand exactly what we needed in order for our business to run to its maximum standard. The housing sector has very particular nuances to it and it was Invu's experience and prior knowledge of these, above all of its competitors, which made the implementation and subsequent use of the software so successful."

Colin Gallick, CEO of Invu concludes, "Our previous extensive work with large-scale social housing providers has given us the industry experience required to be able to meet the needs of all housing associations, regardless of size. The needs of the smaller housing associations have often been ignored in the past by technology providers, but we have taken positive steps in ensuring we fully understand the entire marketplace and have the technology on offer and the flexibility to match. Shian is our latest customer in the housing association market as we continue to forge ahead with a dedicated specialism in the market and further establish ourselves as a market leader."

About Invu
Invu develops software that incorporates document management, content management, workflow, automation and collaboration specialising in solutions for the mid-market and smaller businesses.

Also known as the paperless office, Invu typically gives a return on investment in under six months, allowing companies to see efficiency savings in terms of both money and time.

Over 4,500 organisations use Invu. From professional services (such as accountants, IFAs and insurers) to education; from housing associations to manufacturing and engineering; from transport & logistics to construction and charities.

Invu's Open Search integration allows SharePoint users to utilise fully the benefits of WSS/SharePoint Foundation or MOSS/SharePoint Server whilst retaining the functions of specialist document and content management.

Invu's solutions enable automated scan, capture and management, processing and output transformation.

Invu also integrates with all major accounting systems including IRIS and Sage, as well as ERP and CRM systems.

For more information, visit