I often see social media posts from organisations aspiring to be data-driven or, in some cases, claiming they are already “in the zone”.
With “data before dates” and “following the science”, COVID-19 has shown the best and worst of data analytics. We have all got used to trends, predictions, and leading indicators. But “next slide please” has also meant that sometimes visualisations have appeared far too complicated and confusing.
So, how has that translated into housing associations? Handling data efficiently continues to be a hot topic discussion now, and in the time to come.
To successfully navigate this uncertainty, working around translating data into something meaningful and creating data management frameworks need to become a priority. And there is much to consider.
Not only do we need to look at how we collect and store data linguistics, but we also need to think about behavioural data. What is more, our decision making needs to revolve and be driven by it.
For Golden Marzipan, the successful transformation to becoming a data-driven organisation is shaped by four major approaches: compliance, confidentiality, quality and integrity, and value for money. In this article, we will cover some of these drivers in depth.
1. Data-Driven Compliance
Maintaining your data about assets, especially health and safety information (fire, gas, oil, and solid fuels, electrical safety, asbestos, legionella, and lifts/lifting equipment). If you cannot demonstrate the latest performance and up-to-date position, then the regulator is likely to become interested.
This data is fast-moving, with annual safety checks for gas. potential for fire and hazards to develop at any time. It is important to get your information collected into systems in the fastest and most efficient methods such as having hand-held surveys directly into your main systems and then dashboards reporting in real-time.
Traditional housing management and asset management systems are not necessarily designed to accommodate the dynamism of data (although this is changing and new products coming on the market). If you are still recording the data in (shared) spreadsheets, then you have a BIG problem.
2. Managing Data Confidentiality
We all must take issues of privacy and security seriously.
Ensuring data protection while managing different devices and sensitive files has to be the norm. Consistency of privacy and security requirements not only will benefit effective provision of services but also the customer experience and engagement.
But, if direct email is one of your primary methods of contact, then at some point you are likely to expose some personal data to someone you should not have. I hear nearly every day of a member of staff who has “replied all” or cc’d a group. The ICO will be understanding the first time as we remain in a phase of education, but repeated errors will result in fines.
The Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA 2018) continues to apply. The provisions of the EU GDPR were incorporated directly into UK law at the end of the transition period. The UK GDPR sits alongside the DPA 2018 with some technical amendments so that it works in a UK-only context. For your reference, a data protection self-assessment toolkit is officially provided on the ICO’s website.
As we enter a new frontier regarding data, a level of awareness has to be offered both in the workplace and to clients. Treat your customers and staff like you would like to be treated in safe sharing and safeguarding of your personal information.
3. Data Quality and Integrity
Data quality and integrity are two important aspects to be considered independently. But which are the differences between these terms and why are they so critical?
Data quality is all about having and managing the right type of data under certain rules and format. Most of the times, these rules’ criteria are expected to be defined by the organisation’s needs. Also, if data is pivotal to the business activity, then it can become tedious to maintain and correct poor-quality data.
On the other hand, data integrity covers copied data and its safe storage. Its nature is technical, mainly influenced by the implementation of all practices related to data storing, copying or sharing. Having one source for each data set, i.e., in one system is essential.
And since it is imperative to guarantee good quality of data, we are sharing three shortcuts to ensuring this:
- Having controlled restrictions. Implementing some selective filters on how the data is introduced into the applications. For instance, preventing dealing with “random” data by offering the user to choose the value from a given list.
- Educating on the quality of data. Promoting the good use, storage, as transfer of data in the workplace.
- Using Robotic Process Automation (RPA). Powering automated data entry systems.
4. Value for Money
Data should also be driving your value for money strategy.
Organisations have started to see the value behind data and being data-centric. Whether it’s the efficiency of high-volume processes such as responsive repairs or predictive analysis of income management, using dashboards to ensure returns on analytics investments is increasing.
In this explosive race of putting value to data, having an inventory of data assets ready for reference and analysis can be the difference between generating future economic benefits or succumbing to obsolescence.
Finally, the people factor is one that Golden Marzipan take pride in. The current data narrative also has to consider the business culture and its people to truly mastering lasting change, especially that one of data.
It is Golden Marzipan’s aim to inform the housing associations sector to take people on board on a digital learning curve, including all the emerging technology available to benefit their properties.
As part of our services, we can offer you advice on how to achieve durable digital or data maturity (5-day assessment/audit) ensuring that there is an organisation-wide buy-in to your plans while also supporting your business.
If you would like to discuss any of the items raised in this blog, contact Steve at firstname.lastname@example.org