Two questions, both equally important.
You might have strong data within your organisation, but if your Board doesn’t know how to interrogate that data, they can’t report on or delve into how you’re performing. Equally, if you have Board members who know how to interrogate data, but yours is all saved in separate places and in varying ways, that’s going to lead to issues too.
That’s why it’s vital to have credible, useable data and people who know what to do with it.
So, what is credible data?
Housing providers hold vast amounts of critical and sensitive data, but it isn’t always credible. Or in other words, data that is reconciled across all company systems, that isn’t duplicated, and that provides insight, and unlocks customer needs. Data should allow businesses to make informed decisions in real time, understand performance and resource management and identify service constraints.
It could include:
- accurate data on assets to understand the company position in relation to building safety and compliance
- net zero retrofit requirements
- understanding call volumes in a call centre
- sensitive customer data which needs to be used in compliance with GDPR regulations
Non-credible data can cause difficulties in using the information a company has efficiently, but it can also be a huge risk factor. If systems don’t work together, things can go wrong, and peoples’ lives may even be put at risk.
Interrogating the data
We at Housemark often get asked by housing organisations to help their Boards understand and get the most from the data they have access to. This is because they realise how important it is not only to have credible data, but to know what to do with it and how to derive insight from the information available. Efficient interrogation requires asking the right questions; knowing what you are looking for and what data your organisation will get the most value from is key.
Interrogation of data not done properly means critical information could be missed, a customer need not addressed, or resources wasted on duplicated visits to properties. It also means valuable time has been wasted collecting the data in the first place if it isn’t then used correctly or efficiently.
Many companies we’ve worked with have lots of people working with their own spreadsheets, but their data doesn’t align and it’s difficult for the Board, decision makers and other teams to access what they need to review and interrogate easily.
When data isn’t interrogated correctly, or people aren’t sure how to use their data systems correctly, as I’ve said, it can pose massive risks to an organisation and its customers.
Getting it right saves time
Organisations often waste time and energy towards the end of the year trying to produce reports from data that is saved in various places, and in diverse ways by different people. Many know there must be a better way, but every year they realise they’ve run out of time to get expert help, make improvements and invest in a system that streamlines their data and saves them valuable time, as well as ensuring that the data is robust and reliable.
But it takes longer to fix something every time you come to use it than it does to get it right in the first place. A proper data strategy with applied governance will automatically flag when something is wrong or missing at the point of entry and stops things from going wrong.
At Housemark, we can provide a full review across an organisation including at Board level, reviewing processes, data governance and quality. This includes the data culture of an organisation and the architecture of current systems. These reviews allows us to highlight any strengths and weaknesses and develop a data strategy and reporting solutions that meet the needs of everyone within the company, from tradespeople to customer service roles, and from Board members to team leaders.
If you’d like to learn more about creating a credible data strategy before the next year-end headache, or need a housing data specialist to work with you on understanding and interrogating your data, please drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.