Sir – The issue of data collection and data use for housing providers isn’t a new one, but in light of the welfare reforms, not having a sound grasp on data could have a greater impact than before. It could also inhibit preventative measures being put in place that would not only protect tenants but also a housing provider’s bottom line.
Housing providers need to know how to reach their tenants with reminders about rent payments, notifications of arrears and also offer services that will provide new income streams. However, as tenants hop between mobile providers and switch email accounts, this becomes increasingly difficult.
It may become necessary to ensure that contact details and any other necessary records, such as the names and ages of people living at an address, are reconfirmed at every point of engagement before further tasks are completed. This will help housing providers to deliver the right services, at the right price, via the right channel, at the right time and in a way that is most convenient to each individual. But with more data swimming around, it is essential that the supporting systems and software plug into each other so that updates only have to be made once and information can be shared and used on an enterprise-wide basis.
The challenge is trimming down the data, analysing the necessary bits and then making use of it. And one benefit of crunching down the data in the right way is that housing providers will be able to spot trends and patterns, such as with individuals, specific tenant groups or by location, and will be able to nip any problems in the bud before they escalate. This could help individual tenants to receive the support they need faster, which also avoids organisations making a larger investment in the provision of services than perhaps they needed to.
The focus, more than ever before, is on housing providers managing customer relationships. And in reality, the only way they can do that is by managing data.
Director of housing, Capita’s software services business