How embracing new technologies can help with controlling and managing the changes in welfare reform, universal credit and Digital by Default.
The need for ‘information insight’ in all organisations is a constant demand from the business and a perennial problem for IT. However, the basic building blocks of ‘people, process & technology’ have always been available; it is the challenge of harmonising these elements in a coordinated way with the focus, priority and derived benefit that are the constraints. With the pending policy changes relating to welfare reform and universal credit in particular, the need for more timely and accurate information insight will become imperative.
If we then overlay this with the information revolution caused by the internet, social media and business networking, the explosion in both structured and unstructured data multiplies and magnifies the business and IT challenges of making sense of how a business is operating and how the effective use of information insight can drive positive performance change. When you factor in decentralised business operations and expectations of 24/7 customer service then we have some significant shifts in the supply and demand equation that makes a business, the products and services it offers, and the expectations of clients, investors, and regulators an enormous challenge for all businesses.
Do or die
Those that can do, and those that can’t or don’t will die. This is an old business adage but proven to be historically true across all sectors; just look at the changes to RIM and Nokia within less than two years. So how do housing providers ensure that they positively manage the welfare reform bill and universal credit, enhanced customer service expectations, and embrace Digital by Default, and ensure they manage their financial and human resources in an increasingly competitive market? Embrace IT products that are proven, and can be applied across the separate strands of the business, but what are those IT products?
The massive growth in both structured and unstructured data, driven by the internet and social media and the pending digital inclusion explosion, can be effectively interpreted and exploited from a business context using the ‘in memory’ technologies that companies such as SAP offer with its High Performance Analytical Appliance (HANA). These platforms allow real-time interpretation of huge amounts of data and allow KPI-based interpretation by business users at all levels.
Information on the go
As business operations become more decentralised and based on multiple devices, information on the go becomes more necessary. Mobile information insight through smartphones and tablets will be effective ways to increase customer service and enhance operational efficiency, and therefore positively impact operational cost management. We are seeing an increase in BYOD (bring you own device) in the housing sector and this increases the challenges for IT staff who have a duty of care in the context of both device and business data management. As with all these aspects of information insight, the ability to align and integrate, rather than having disparate point products, can make the overall solution more operationally and financially efficient.
Finally, the use of visualisation for information insight, specifically for knowledge workers and senior executives, allows people to set visual information triggers based on business goals and objectives, using the power of the data and software to provide insightful and proactive views of business trends in real-time scenarios. It fulfils the promise of user self-service in a timely manner, thereby enabling real time, accurate and informed decisions to be taken.
Data is now a corporate asset and technology is the true enabler. Those that can do, and those that can’t or don’t will die.
Chris Coan is the managing director of Visualmetrics.