Stonewater is a leading social housing provider, with a mission to deliver good quality, affordable homes to people who need them most. Managing around 33,600 homes in England for over 75,000 customers, including affordable properties for general rent, shared ownership and sale, alongside specialist accommodation & more.

The Problem

Stonewater had an EDRMS in place, that had data and documentation spread across multiple different repositories that lacked standardisation and had been added to and grown organically. This meant that consistency in document storage and filing was low and differed from repository to repository, department to department, and team to team.

The incumbent system also had a poor search facility making it hard for users to quickly find the documents and data they needed. In recent years with the introduction of GDPR, the incumbent system and its way of working and storing data would make it difficult to ensure that all data had been acquired in the case of Subject Access Requests (SAR).

With these aspects combined, it also made the task of servicing customers, cases and issues harder and slower with the difficulties of accessing documents.

The Solution

We have delivered an Electronic Document Management System utilising SharePoint and Microsoft 365 for Stonewater that allows for all documentation to be securely stored, as well as incorporating metadata on those documents and with automatic folder structure creation. This ensures that when a new tenant is created, the corresponding folders are autogenerated with documents automatically saved to the corresponding folder. This allows for the movement away from document processing on paper and network to a fully digital document, post across the business.

The Blacklight SharePoint solution also includes purchase-to-pay functionality with intelligent workflows routing documents around the business. Artificial Intelligence is also applied using Microsoft Azure Cognitive Services and Machine Learning to read invoices and perform checks against the financial system to ensure that amounts and work order codes match before submitting for approval or automatically paying (based on invoice amount and other rules).

A custom supplier portal is part of this solution and allows suppliers to log in securely with password management functionality, and to be able to upload invoices and administer information. Suppliers don’t need to have guest access to Microsoft 365, as the portal has its own identity management. This documentation and information then trigger workflows within the portal and SharePoint to store and process the invoices, flag exceptions and process payments. As a .NET custom-written portal, design can be completely controlled with full branding and look and feel possible to be customised.

The design of the supplier portal is responsive and renders perfectly to mobile and tablet devices as well as larger screen sizes

The Benefits

Some of the key features of the supplier portal solution include:

  • Responsive Design – works on any device
  • Allows users to self-manage supplier details
  • Allow delegation of access by allowing users to request access and be validated by the supplier
  • Allows users the ability to submit invoices and view remittances
  • Full visibility of the history of transactions and statuses
  • FAQ section to help avoid additional queries and provide additional support to the suppliers


From our customer: “So what have been the major benefits?

From an operational perspective, the adoption of this new solution will benefit from:

  • Decreased costs for Document Management and autonomy
  • Cutting-edge, future-proofed platform
  • Fully mobile accessible platform
  • Full Integration to other systems through a common MS Graph interface
  • Fully Integrated suite of ready-to-go products
  • A modern clean look to our application services
  • Autonomy of our internal communications
  • Powerful Planning capabilities
  • Powerful Reporting capabilities
  • Powerful Automation tools
  • Artificial Intelligence encompassed within the applications”

“With this ultra-modern platform that any organisation would be proud to have, Blacklight Software have delivered truly cutting-edge technology that will allow our business to lead the way in the housing sector for many years to come.

Being one of the first in the sector to make this bold innovative transition to full Microsoft Office 365 integration has delivered significant capabilities, which undoubtedly will bring cost savings and efficiency benefits for many years to come, whilst allowing our customers greater flexibility in engagement with our business.”

- Customer Feedback, Stonewater

Blacklight Software

Making Digital Transformation Happen