Opinion: Celebrating 20 years providing software for the housing sector
Published by Max Salsbury for 24dash.com in Housing
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By David Shelton, chairman, SDS
We’re delighted to be celebrating our 20th birthday at SDS – 20 years of creating software for the housing industry – always trying to break new ground.
From Cranleigh we’ve been providing real-time software solutions to help housing associations, 40 local authorities, developers and landlords. Social and affordable housing are a focus and clients include Persimmon Homes and the Sovereign Housing Group.
Apart from the UK, we operate in Australia and in the UK has 70% of the market for software products produced organically for the housing sector.
David Shelton started the business in 1994 by himself and now there are 14 employees and current turnover is £1 million.
SDS products help professionals very quickly assess the viability of a development, check workflow and cash flow management. A housing association will be able to assess the worth of its stock in real time instead of having to wait nine hours with other products.
For the past five years my son Phil has been chief executive. He says: “It’s been a fantastic experience and we’re looking forward to the next 20 years, innovating and creating cutting-edge software for our clients.
“When my father set up SDS 20 years ago his vision was to innovate and help people understand development. We are continuing that ethos today and always trying to break new ground with effective, user-friendly solutions. We’re always aiming to refine and improve the technology to help the housing sector.”
The most popular SDS software is ProVal a real-time development appraisal tool, and Sequel, which helps with project work flow and cash flow management.
Phil added: “Customer service is key to us with 90 per cent of our clients being repeat business. We also run frequent user group seminars and training courses around the country – in Manchester, Birmingham and Surrey. In addition, we meet regularly with the National Housing Federation to hear exactly what their members are thinking and wanting. Listening is hugely important to understand the needs of our clients.”
Kate Varney, development and new business officer at Longhurst Group, a client since 2004 with nearly 18,000 homes across the Midlands and East of England, said: “SDS and Sequel have dramatically improved the time it takes to update our cash flows … and their training and support are always brilliant.”
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