Digitalising UPP's services with Heroku
The Low Down
UPP (University Partnerships Programme) is the UK’s leading provider of on-campus residential and academic accommodation infrastructure.
They have over 35,000 rooms in operation or under construction through long-term, bespoke partnerships with 15 world-leading universities including the University of Exeter, Imperial College London and Loughborough University.
UPP partnered with 4C to develop and deliver an app on Salesforce’s Heroku platform, to deliver self service to their residents.
Through continued acquisitions, UPP grew their residential portfolio over a period of time across the 15 sites. Though the business was rapidly growing, IT and digital remained underinvested. Each site had their own system and processes in place, with a lot of processes being run completely on paper. UPP found that the inconsistency of the disparate systems was leading to a lot of business problems and was starting to negatively impact the service they were delivering to their students.
Students expect to be able to do everything via their phone and UPP realised that they needed to service that. Before implementing the new system, if a resident wanted to interact with UPP they had to go to their halls of residence reception, pick up the phone or send an email, it was not a good experience. Staff were also struggling. Due to a lack of data, they didn’t readily have the information they needed to be able to provide a good customer service.
Home at Halls App
UPP worked with 4C to develop the Home at Halls app on Salesforce’s Heroku platform, designed for students to digitally engage with UPP’s services. Whereas before everything had to be done manually, students can now download the app and self serve for anything they need to do. Whether it’s logging a fault, signing up to an event, reading a news articles or signing in a guest. Residents are now managed in a digital process, they are managed as consumers, as self-service customers into UPPs services and UPP now have one one unified comms channel to their residents, making for a better user experience for both students and staff.
Improved Reporting and Access to Data
The app has had a huge impact across the business. Everyone from cleaners, through to maintenance staff have found that the information they are now receiving is better, quicker and more detailed. Before the app, data was stored across a number of different systems and databases and it started to become unmanageable to the point where UPP were not getting meaningful information let alone business intelligence. With the app they are now able to consolidate that and service their different sites whilst getting the business intelligence they need.
UPP have also seen impressive commercial benefits since going live with the app, in terms of being able to track and manage damages and repairs. As everything is now logged on the app, it provides UPP with an audit trail so they can track all communication they have had with a student. This was previously very difficult to manage and a lot of damages and repairs would go untracked and unreported.
“4C were really good, they understood our business requirements so well. We could communicate with them about anything. If we had to go back and change something it wouldn’t matter to them, they would easily do it and come up with a solution that was more viable to us”. Keri Fearn, ICT Digital Systems Manager, UPP
“Working with 4C was working in the best agile way I think I have in my career actually, it’s been really good.” Mark Sullivan, ICT Programme Manager, UPP
access to data