In this category, sponsored by, Miller Homes’ proactive approach to e-marketing made it a clear winner

Winner: Miller Homes

Miller Homes is harnessing IT to really get to know its customers. It uses the internet to interact with potential and existing customers and has its own in-house software system, called RCS, to log sales data and disseminate it through the company website. Its online registration and profiling system allows visitors to receive information about schemes that match their individual needs. The housebuilder uses customer information to drive sales, by creating specific special offers, for example, and as a research tool in surveying buyers on home design and specification. Since its launch at least 21% of the company’s homes have been sold to registered website users.

Second: Lovell

This year Lovell has introduced a simple-to-navigate website and a client relationship management system. The CRM package has a national contact database and allows land and projects to be tracked. Report writing is also standardised and simplified. The system is initially for business development staff, but will in time be expanded to cover other departments such as estimating and commercial. Lovell has also tailored the information on parent company Morgan Sindall’s intranet to its own needs.

Third: Southdale Homes

The virtual private network (VPN) is among the latest IT innovations at Southdale Homes, offering the facility to work on the file server from remote locations at any time. The VPN, which is one element of an integrated IT approach, benefits the company’s site managers and other staff, enabling them to access essential information such as orders and drawings. All sites have also been issued with a laptop, complete with “always-on” connection.

Fourth: Black Country and Community Services Group

One department in Black Country Housing has reduced its storage from 14 filing cabinets to just two, following the housing association’s IT upgrade. The upgrade was carried out to avoid relocation to larger premises, improve working conditions, and reduce environmental impact and included new hardware and software. Smarter working is reducing paper and ink wastage and cutting down on travel between group locations.