CHP Energy Solutions’ digital transformation is on a mission

Mar 21, 2023

Community Housing Partners (CHP) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit focused on creating homes and communities that are healthy, sustainable and affordable. Founded in Virginia, CHP now has properties and programs across the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic and has been serving clients for nearly 50 years.

CHP Energy Solutions, a division of CHP, implements healthier, safer and more energy-efficient homes through federal, state and utility-sponsored programs and operates a leading Research and Training Center.

A lot has changed in those five decades, and CHP Energy Solutions realized that the systems and processes that it had relied on for years were now holding it back. CHP’s Executive Team approved a strategic plan to invest in and upgrade its infrastructure, and RSM was selected to guide CHP Energy Solutions through this digital transformation.

“Partnering with RSM was one of our key critical project decisions to leverage a high level of expertise and extensive experience for our growing organization.”  —Chase Counts, Senior Director of Operations

CHP’s origins and reach

In 1975, two concerned citizens organized college students and faculty from Blacksburg, Virginia to help low-income families with minor home repairs. And thus, Project Home Repair (as it was then known) was born. Over the years, the organization grew to offer weatherization services, general contracting, rental housing preservation and development, property management, homeownership and realty programs.

By 2014, CHP’s reach had grown and there was a need to establish an energy-efficient division to oversee existing and new programs. CHP Energy Solutions currently implements programs in Virginia and West Virginia through the Federal Weatherization Program and utility-sponsored programs. In addition, the CHP Energy Solution Research and Training Center provides building science education and custom trainings throughout the US and globally.

From only a handful of volunteers in 1975, CHP now has more than 380 employees serving households across multiple divisions, including real estate development, construction, property management, resident services, realty and homeownership and energy services and training.  

Community Housing Partners by the numbers

380+ employees

11,845 residents provided with stable rental housing

7,555 homes built, preserved and weatherized

962 individuals given energy-efficiency training

$32M+ investments in houses that meet green standards

The tech challenges CHP Energy Solutions couldn’t ignore

Through all its success and growth, CHP Energy Solutions embraced technology and used what it had to the fullest. But as with many nonprofits, budgets were tight, programs expanded and eventually its systems could not be maintained. CHP Energy Solutions’ old technology was unable to scale with its expansion or handle the increase in work and staff.

CHP Energy Solutions relied on multiple Excel spreadsheets and databases, for example, which made it difficult to share information between teams about clients and properties. Teams also didn’t have much clarity into the work history of clients and properties, contributing to a longer application process. The technology wasn’t just inefficient, it was costing time and money, and ultimately reducing the number of people the organization could help.

CHP Energy Solutions had limited resources yet an urgent demand for a centralized system. It needed an efficient digital transformation, so it turned to RSM for help.

“To best serve our clients in the future, the days of separate spreadsheets and siloed processes were put behind us.”  —Meghan McMillen, Director of Weatherization Programs and Services

RSM’s solution: Simplify processes and prioritize CHP Energy Solutions’ mission

In 2021, CHP’s Vice President of Energy Solutions knew it was time to overhaul its technology stack to support its greater mission. CHP chose RSM, and its advisors proposed a direct solution: simplify CHP Energy Solutions’ legacy processes while implementing a modern, cloud-based system built using Microsoft Dynamics 365 Field Services and Customer Service, as well as Microsoft 365, SharePoint and the Power Platform.

RSM’s team of Microsoft advisors worked closely with CHP Energy Solutions’ staff to execute the new solution. The total project was delivered in just seven months, allowing for an immediate positive impact within the same fiscal year as the selection of RSM. The new platform encompassed many applications and directly addressed numerous key functions, including: 

D365 Customer Service

  • Property management
  • Contact/household member management
  • Intake case process

D365 Field Service

  • Project management
  • Work order management
  • Resource scheduling
  • Dispatch
  • Inventory
  • Mobile app for resources

D365 Marketing

  • Customer Voice to capture clients pre-screening information from CHP’s website
  • Marketing segments
  • Marketing journeys
  • Marketing email blast

Power App portal

  • Web forms that allow contractors to access and view work orders and update work statuses for CHP Energy Solutions

The result: Lasting systems with expansive impact

The new Microsoft solution transformed CHP Energy Solutions’ disparate legacy procedures into one main system that standardized a linear process for all teams and roles. It created visibility of data and total synergy from pre-screening through work order completion. Efficiency, productivity and employee satisfaction are all up. And best of all, the impact of CHP’s mission is up.

Across the board, the new Microsoft solution has been a success. Almost overnight, inefficient spreadsheets and databases were retired, service routes were optimized and technicians were equipped with mobile devices, eliminating the dependency on the office and legacy forms that were previously used to inspect houses.

CHP Energy Solutions now receives data directly from the field, and the number of calls it receives was cut in half within the first month after go-live. The dependency on customer service to receive phone calls and key-in information relayed from the field was virtually eliminated, liberating agents from administrative tasks and enabling them to move CHP’s mission forward with their time instead.

The new Microsoft system has also streamlined and automated program application processes, cutting the amount of time from inquiry to inspection by 60%. An intake process that took days now takes minutes. Finally, the cost of implementation has already been recouped by reducing the need to hire additional resources to do administrative tasks.

Microsoft Dynamics has helped our organization better fulfill our mission. This technology has enabled us to scale up to serve more clients and communities. Dynamics has helped make our processes and communication more efficient across our team, which has empowered us to serve more households with greater impact.
Mark Jackson, Vice President, CHP Energy Solutions

A platform to confidently move the mission forward

By working with RSM’s team of experienced Microsoft advisors, CHP Energy Solutions’ digital transformation elevated its operations and energized its staff. Its noble 50-year mission has been modernized, making teams and processes more efficient while providing a path to scale up and serve more households and communities.  

2023 RSM US MMBI Digital Transformation Special Report

The survey reveals that for company leaders, digital transformation is more than just upgrades or new platforms. Digital transformation can alter an organization’s trajectory and affect whether the company succeeds or fails.

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