Team Housemark has just returned from exhibiting at Housing 22 in Manchester - Europe’s largest housing festival – and what a week it was! It was great to get out again and meet our peers, colleagues and customers from across the housing sector to talk all things data, and lots more besides!

Conversations were flowing on the stand (which is probably why most of us are a little croaky today!) as we proudly shared and celebrated what can only be described as a jam-packed membership offer for 2022/23. Chatting through the benefits of being a Housemark member, and sharing those all important anecdotes from other organisations about how they use data to transform their business and evidence the work they are already doing.

It was clear that many are keen to move their data journey forward, but weren’t sure what to do first, how much to invest, what questions they should be asking themselves and how they can not only take comfort from a comparison but also how they take it to the next-level and drive real change for their customers and communities. It’ll come as no surprise that we spent lots of time talking about our complementary consultancy offers – with one arm of what we do designed to dive deep into what’s driving performance to improve and enhance – as well as provide assurance and that essential evidence that the regulators are repeatedly requesting. And the other really focused on making sure you are building the foundations of truly data-driven business – from strategy, governance, security and more – we kept our team very busy!

Data was clearly a hot topic of the entire conference and it was great to hear so many other speakers and suppliers championing our message around the increasingly important use and understanding of data. Recognising the variety of perspectives, products and services on offer, we were pleased to see so many come to us for signposting, and support. At Housemark, we’re not afraid to take a step-back and start a conversation with understanding the here and now (although we know it’s easy to get carried away with the what’s next) and we found our data quiz to be a popular (and fun!) conversation starter. Aimed at helping visitors to assess how data mature their organisation is, and which areas they need help with, delegates answered questions to discover where they are on their data journey – from ‘just starting out’ to ‘leading the way’ – with live results displayed on a big screen.

Results so far show that the majority of respondents (well over half) fall into the category of ‘up and running’ – making good progress on their way to data maturity but still with important decisions to take and choices to make.  The quiz continues online so if you’d like to take part and find out how you compare with the sector you can do it here. We will share the final insights soon.

While just reading that back, it’s no wonder we’re ready for a quiet Friday, and we didn’t stop there. Between breakfast buffets, lunch meetings and the occasional glass of fizz at the drinks do’s, we managed to squeeze in two fantastic speaking slots.  On Tuesday our Associate Director Amanda Leonard, alongside other experts, talked about ‘the future of customer service’. A packed audience was treated to a wealth of insight and knowledge, with a key takeaway from Amanda being that there is a “direct correlation between customer satisfaction and customers’ access to multiple channels”.

On Wednesday, Jonathan Cox, Director of Data and Business Intelligence, joined an expert panel for a session on ‘using data insight to shape and improve services’. Jonathan pointed out that “the sector can be obsessed with the scores and that green traffic light that signals good or great work. Many contextual factors impact satisfaction, and in fact it needs to be more about what the customers say, and what you do with the feedback.” Rebecca Reed, Head of Insight and Development at the Housing Ombudsman added “Start using your data to make decisions – you’ll need to capture, keep, manage and organise data more than ever before”. We couldn’t agree more!

We loved being at Housing 22 and, for us, the biggest takeaway of all was the value of in-person events and the opportunity to meet, network, share and collaborate. We’re now looking forward to another unmissable event for the housing sector, our very own Housemark Data and Analytics Summit in October – see you there!