What to Look for in a PHA Software Vendor

PHA Software Vendor

The Public Housing sector has benefited from software vendors offering solutions with the goal of streamlining and automating processes. But beware, not every PHA software vendor is the same. Effective PHA software is integrative, comprehensive, and simple to use, creating efficient solutions for public housing authorities. 

There are a number of reputable PHA software vendors to choose from. For software solutions that will best meet your needs, you need to understand exactly what you should look for when searching for in a PHA software vendor.

Essential PHA Software Vendor Features

Due to the nature of public housing authority software, there are certain features that you’ll want from your vendor. These features help to ensure that your PHA has effective, efficient, seamless processes. 

Customer Care

When it comes to PHA software, the last thing you want is to be left on your own. You need to know that you’re working with a vendor that provides great customer care support behind the scenes to assist and support you as you utilize the public housing authority solutions. 

Look for a PHA software vendor that is keenly focused on ensuring their clients receive efficient, accurate, and actionable support. By finding a vendor that offers top-notch customer support, you’ll know that you’re not on your own. You’ll have someone to walk you through any questions or troubles that arise, keeping your software, and processes, running smoothly. 

Data Conversion

In the Public Housing sector, seamless data conversion is essential. With any PHA software that you use, you’ll need to know that your data is secure and will be properly stored and converted through any migration. 

Your PHA software vendor should focus intently on effective data conversion. This means that they will invest a significant amount of time and money in migration, as well as dedicate an expert team of professionals. Knowing that data conversion will be accurate, secure, and effective is an essential component for your peace of mind when it comes to your PHA software. 

Financial & Management Consulting

The public housing authority has one main goal – serving the families in their community and meeting their needs. It’s important that every PHA is set up for success to assist their community. 

When it comes to finding a PHA software vendor, you’ll want to make sure that they have optimized their financial management service operations and resources in order to best serve your community’s families. This means your PHA software vendor will provide guidance and consulting to actively and effectively serve your community. 

Professional Services

When choosing a PHA software vendor, you will want to look for a company that offers implementation and training services. Your software is a necessary tool for public housing, however, without the resources needed to properly implement and use it, you’ll be missing out on the features you need. 

Make sure your vendor offers a number of professional services to assist you, including cohesive implementation and training. You’ll be able to effectively utilize your software to streamline your processes and serve families. 

Emphasys Software – PHA Software Vendor 

Not every PHA software vendor has the features you need for success. Take the time to find a high-quality vendor that will meet your needs and help you serve the families in your community. 

Emphasys Software is committed to serving the public housing sector. With high-quality PHA software solutions, we provide customer care, data conversion, financial and management consulting, and the professional services you need. 

SCHEDULE A CALL WITH EMPHASYS TODAY!

Hosted Software: Working from Home in the Age of Covid

Hosting is a good option to enable your staff to continue working safely.

,

Avoiding a ransomware attack

Don’t let your data get held hostage: Avoiding a ransomware attack.

,

What’s your emergency preparedness plan?

Emphasys is positioned to help PHAs plan for and recover from disasters and emergencies in a variety of ways.

Learn & Network at Emphasys Users Connect 2019

Learn & Network at Emphasys Users Connect 2019

Every year, Emphasys Software hosts an educational user conference designed for our PHA clients. The Users Connect conference attracts a broad range of affordable housing professionals and includes topics such as product training and education, housing program management, agency performance, reporting fundamentals and best practices. The Users Connect conference is not only a great opportunity for clients to learn more about our products, but also a great opportunity for them to network with other housing authorities from around the country.

Other benefits of our user conference include:

  • Change is always in the air. Learn best practices on RAD conversions, executive reporting, and the like through more than 50 key sessions.
  • We all need to stay up-to-date with HUD updates, right? Find out what HUD is up to, and how it impacts your agency along with software updates and how to ensure you are compliant.
  • Engage technology in ways never thought of! Learn about exciting new products and existing product updates, and how they will save your PHA time and money.
  • Personal interaction has never meant so much. Network with your peers and discover the creative ways they use technology to solve business challenges.
  • One-on-one is invaluable. Pick the brains of key development and support staff. You might even solve some outstanding technical challenges!
  • Fun group events with food, drinks, and activities to wrap up a day of learning. Downtime between and after sessions to enjoy hotel amenities and local attractions!

This year’s Users Connect will be held at the TradeWinds Island Grand in St. Pete Beach, Florida from November 3 – 6, 2019. Registration fees are $765 (early bird pricing) and rooms start at $189 per night.

Registration is now open and more details, including a full agenda, will be available at our website soon.

Increase Productivity, Efficiency and Flexibility with Mobile Work Orders

Increase Productivity, Efficiency and Flexibility with Mobile Work Orders

Long gone are the days of filling out paper forms in the field and then bringing them back to the office to be keyed into the computer system. Your staff's time is more valuable than this and business efficiency demands a better solution. Thankfully the technology hardware to facilitate this increase in efficiency is pretty much in everyone's hands already – the smartphone.

At Emphasys Software, we heard customers talking about needing to get their PHA maintenance department teams out into the field more and to spend less time writing things down or keying information into computers. So, some years ago, Emphasys Software developed the Work Order Mobile Touch app, now available for Android phones, to meet this customer need using smartphone technology staff were already familiar with.

The Work Order Mobile Touch app fully integrates with Emphasys' Elite Work Order system and allows maintenance staff to enter time and materials for their work order tasks while in the field and on the go. The app reduces the overall time dedicated to mobile work orders with paperless processing and requires less than an hour of training for maintenance personnel. The Work Order Mobile Touch app stores data locally and then auto-syncs to the Emphasys Elite system upon wireless connection.

Since the introduction of our Work Order Mobile Touch product, our clients have reported being able to save approximately 10 minutes per work order. For our clients who process 7,000 work orders yearly, that's nearly 30 weeks they save in a year.

So what can a housing authority do with all this extra time?

For starters, an agency can establish better control over closing work orders in a timely manner, which will in turn increase a PHA's Work Order Indicator Scores. PHAs can also spend more time on preventive maintenance, which will reduce unit turnaround times.

 

Download the brochure below to learn more about our Work Order Mobile Touch solution.

The brochure will be sent automatically to your email.

    ,

    Is SOC 2 Compliance Important for PHAs?

    Is SOC 2 Compliance Important for PHAs?

    As a trusted technology advisor to hundreds of top performing Public Housing Authorities (PHAs), Emphasys takes information security very seriously.

    To formalize and quantify a company's internal controls related to information security, the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) developed a compliance requirement called SOC 2. SOC 2 is designed for those providers who store customer data in the cloud, which means any affordable housing technology company storing customer data must meet SOC 2 compliance requirements in order to minimize risk and exposure to a PHA's data.

    The SOC 2 requirement is more than just a technical audit. It establishes that a company follows strict information security procedures and policies, including the security, availability, processing, integrity, and confidentiality of customer data. Further, being SOC 2 certified assures a client that information security at the provider is in line with the special needs of today's cloud requirements.

    Be sure to ask your housing software vendor if they are SOC 2 compliant when shopping for your PHA's next business management software solution. Mitigating risks is a very important part of running a PHA and partnering with a vendor who is SOC2 certified will ensure that you are working with an organization that complies with all of the Trust Service Principles of security, availability, confidentiality, processing integrity, and privacy.

    Emphasys is pleased to report that we are wrapping up our SOC 2 certification and expect to be SOC 2 compliant shortly.

     

    Not sure what to look for in a hosting provider? Download our “Five Questions to Ask Any Hosting Provider” whitepaper to ensure you make the right choice.

    The Whitepaper will be sent automatically to your email.

      Have you Received an End of Life Date from your Software Vendor?

      Have you Received an End-of-Life Date from your Software Vendor?

      Has your housing software vendor just announced an end of life date for the product your PHA relies on? If so, there are several things to consider now that your vendor is no longer supporting your software.

      Moving to any new software product comes with its share of challenges, such as the necessary transfer of knowledge and the need for a clean data conversion. If your PHA is being forced to make a change anyway, why not consider all your options and select the best software partner for your organization?

      Questions to ask your current vendor about product end of life:

      1. Do I have to move to the cloud?
      2. If I have to move to the cloud, are you SOC 2 compliant? This is important for data security.
      3. How much functionality am I going to lose? What crucial features are not going to be in the new product?
      4. If I had custom programming done (letters, reports, etc.) will I have to pay for it again?
      5. How much is this going to cost me? Am I getting the software for free or do I have to pay for it again?
      6. If I go beyond the end of life deadline, what will happen? Will I get support?
      7. How much data conversion will come over from the product?
      8. Does my maintenance cost change or will I be paying the same?
      9. Will you assist me with HUD updates during implementation if we have not gone live yet?
      10. How will you handle all the simultaneous upgrades generated by the software end of life? Can you handle the volume?
      11. With PIC-NG coming out later this year will I be impacted if I’m not on the new system?

      If you feel your vendor can’t answer these questions, please fill out the contact form below.

      ,

      Is your Software Vendor Holding your Data Hostage?

      Is your Software Vendor Holding your Data Hostage?

      Perhaps an auditor has come to your PHA and requested information that resides in your housing software system. It’s a simple enough request, but to your dismay, you find out you must ask your vendor to retrieve it. Then there’s data export. Many systems in the market today won’t let you export your data out of the software without having to go through some sort of report. Or what about needing to switch vendors? Will they lock you out of your data? Now it really feels like your data is being held hostage.

      Here are some questions you should ask your vendor to make sure you can access your data in all circumstances.

      1. Do you offer a report wizard that allows my PHA to create reports? Do the reports have key data elements as it relates to 50058s, detailed income information, detailed assets, including detailed information on history (vacancies, certifications, unit history, AR information, etc.)?
      2. Can my PHA create a Microsoft Excel report and tie it directly to the database to create reports?
      3. Do your reports automatically export out to Microsoft Excel in the proper format or do I have to modify the report every time I export it?
      4. Will our PHA have to rely on your support department in order to access report-related items?
      5. Do you have a Data Model that you can share with our PHA?
      6. Do you provide our users with training on creating reports?
      7. Do you have training videos for our PHA staff to review?
      8. Do you have a support department that can guide our users through creating basic report queries?
      9. Can my PHA still access our data even during the time we are transitioning to a new vendor?

      More and more, HUD is relying on vendors to deliver and own data, so it’s in your PHA’s best interest to make sure your vendor offers easy and convenient data access. After all, being able to control, access, and trust your data is key to helping your PHA run smoothly.

      If you feel your vendor can’t answer these questions and want to know more about how you can own your data, please fill out the contact form below.

      Updated September, 2020

      Nine Questions to Ask your Software Provider Following an Acquisition

      Nine Questions to Ask Your Software Provider Following an Acquisition

      If your housing software provider has recently been acquired by another company, there’s probably a lot going through your mind. With any acquisition, there can be uncertainty and anxiety associated with the event, but our industry is especially susceptible due to HUD’s constant changes. Typically, after an acquisition, there are questions that need to be answered, and how they are addressed will determine the future direction and the stability of your Housing Authority moving forward.

      When companies are acquired, the organization that’s doing the acquiring has to consider the amount of duplication that is occurring within each department. For instance, do they want to triple the cost of doing all of HUD’s changes for all three products? To make things more complicated, there could be three or four versions of the product within an individual software system. The big question that the acquiring company has to ask themselves is: “Should we move customers to the new system quickly to increase revenue because of the purchase?”

      We know the acquisition process can be daunting, unpredictable and confusing for both parties involved, especially the Housing Authority. We put together a list of questions to ask your acquiring software vendor in order to demystify the process and prepare your agency for what’s ahead.

      Here are the nine questions a PHA should ask their acquiring software company:

      1. Will I have to move to another system?
      2. Will you give me two to three years advance notice of End of Life for my product?
      3. How long will I have before I have to move?
      4. Are you going to continue to offer updates to our system?
      5. Will the product features be the same in the new product?
      6. Will I receive the new software for free and just have to pay for services?
      7. How will my historical data be converted?
      8. Can I convert a portion of my system to the new product or do I have to jump to the new product completely?
      9. If I have custom Interfaces, letters and reports do they get converted? Do I have to pay for them again?

      If you feel you’re not getting a good response from your vendor after asking these questions, maybe it’s time to consider other options. If you decide to explore what other housing software is available, why not look at Emphasys Software? We’ve been serving the affordable housing market for over 40 years and offer a fully integrated Windows-based suite of modules built specifically for PHAs. We’d be happy to introduce you to the Emphasys Elite software.

      To learn more, fill out the contact form below.