PHDC helps low-income residents make needed repairs to their homes. The agency used disparate, manual processes to plan projects, track documents, schedule inspections, and pay for repairs. To streamline its complex processes, PHDC adopted the Microsoft Dynamics 365 Customer Service and Field Service business applications and Power Apps portals. Now, the agency has increased productivity, made remote work possible, improved reporting, and pays its valuable contractors in half the time.
The most affordable home for someone is the one they already have. This is a core belief at PHDC, an agency that works with the City of Philadelphia to provide housing assistance to low-income residents. PHDC provides grants so that homeowners and renters can make needed repairs and accessibility modifications, such as installing a new roof, making needed electrical and plumbing repairs, or weatherizing a home.
“Philadelphia has some of the oldest housing stock in the country, and houses require ongoing maintenance,” says Jamila Davis, Public Information Officer at PHDC. “Residents might not always have money for repairs, so our programs are key to reducing homelessness and keeping people in safe, affordable homes.”
PHDC has a thorough process for its services. First, residents call to express a repair need, and the agency determines their eligibility by verifying income and residence. PHDC then sends field staff from its inspection unit to walk through the house, develop a work order, and create a scope of work. Next, those work orders are sent to one or more of the approximately 100 third-party contractors that PHDC works with to provide these services. The contractors perform the work and submit invoices to PHDC. Finally, the agency sends another field staff member to inspect the work, and then PHDC pays the contractors.
The entire process was tracked through manual, disparate methods, including phone calls, paper notes, and six standalone tools. Sometimes orders got lost because a client address was entered differently in multiple different systems. PHDC needed a modern, unified way to manage its end-to-end client service, streamline its contractor interactions, improve reporting capabilities, and increase overall efficiency.
Adopting Dynamics 365 has helped us provide our services to residents more quickly and efficiently and keep them safe and healthy in their homes.
Director of Home Improvement Programs PHDC
PHDC created a 145-page request for proposal (RFP) detailing its system requirements and shared it with partner RSM US. The partner recommended Microsoft Dynamics 365 as the perfect fit to simplify the agency’s complex processes. PHDC was able to use the solution out of the box, and RSM US helped the agency with additional functionalities configured through custom scripts and add-ins.
The agency adopted Dynamics 365 Customer Service to help manage its intake process, including applications, orientation attendance, document submission, and award status. PHDC also implemented Dynamics 365 Field Service for its inspection process, including the Field Service mobile app when inspectors are onsite. “We showed PHDC how to automate tasks and reduce 22 steps down to 7 using Dynamics 365,” says Bob Kanzler, Director of Technology Consulting at RSM US.
PHDC was about to go live with this solution when staff were required to stay home because of the COVID-19 crisis. But the agency was still able to launch Dynamics 365 in a remote setting and continue the agency’s vital work. “Before, we didn’t have the capability for staff to work from home, and there’s no way we could have operated remotely for the past 10 months without Dynamics 365,” says George Russell, Director of Home Improvement Programs at PHDC.