The social housing sector in the UK continues to operate in challenging times – the combination of a continued shortage of housing, reduction in grants from government and ageing asset stocks means that there needs to be a consistent drive to ‘deliver more for less’. Housing associations need to ensure they are:

  • Providing a sustainable future
  • Maintaining the reliability and quality of core services
  • Exceeding/Satisfying customers’ growing expectations
  • Investing in diversification and growth
  • Financially viable

It’s not an easy ask, is it? With resources sometimes already at the bare minimum, it seems almost impossible to produce more, but if we take a step back and think about how we make decisions at work, then it can become a much clearer picture.

Whether the decisions being made are short term/trivial (for example, who to send to a property on a particular repair activity) or longer term/strategic (for example, forecasting future capital expenditure requirements to support the development of your strategic business plan) data is a key ingredient of this decision making process. 

There are three key factors needed to support effective decision support/data exploitation:

  • A good analytic tool and the knowledge how to use it effectively
  • Subject matter expertise
  • Data of known quality

Without all three of these factors in place, your decision making is at greater risk of being incorrect (see this blog post for more details).

Good data quality will help to smooth the road to success, but poor data quality could only lead you up the wrong path – making decisions without realising that they may not be the best option.

Astute organisations, large and small, are increasingly relying on being forward thinking and taking an innovative approach to “sweat their assets” so as to maintain their place in the market. However, this can only be accomplished when you are confident and have assurance that your data can be relied upon to inform you correctly and pave the way to achieving your goals, or as a minimum that you understand the nature of the data imperfections (for example, housing acquired from a different organisation who did not keep data to the same level of detail).

Poor quality data may lead to extra costs in cleansing it to support the decision analytics and potentially incorrect strategic plans which could be a very significant cost to the organisation. It would therefore be sensible both to understand more about your data quality and to ensure that your approach to data quality management is suitable. DPA are independent experts in data exploitation (we don’t sell software!) and use the internationally recognised standard ISO 8000 as a way both of providing a logical approach to data quality management and allowing assessment of the maturity of the data quality management operated by an organisation.

So, to answer the question at the beginning, creating surplus/profit by sweating your assets, can be made easier through better data quality management.

If you are concerned about how mature your organisations approach to data quality management is (or you just want to talk about data) feel free to get in contact for more information.

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