We shouldn’t underestimate the power of data. But what data do you need, for what use, and how do you use it effectively?
Data on its own means very little, but collating data in the right way is very powerful. It provides an overall picture of where things are now, the trends, the context of what’s happening and gives the insights needed for informed decision-making.
But the door really opens when you can use data to be proactive, to understand more about your tenants, your properties and your contractors, and you can start to make decisions which change the dynamics and even start to predict outcomes.
Why is data so important?
Within social housing, there are three key areas of focus when it comes to data: tenants, properties and staff. It is always important to understand your customers, no matter what sector you work in. Not only knowing who they are through segmentation, but in order to make informed decisions, you also need to know what their needs are, so you can differentiate the services you provide.
With the right high-quality data, housing providers can gain insights to enable them to decide on the right technologies to manage their tenants and processes, the most appropriate communication channels to use, and ensure they are prioritising their most vulnerable tenants. This proactive, early-intervention work helps to eliminate those potential risks that housing providers want to focus on, such as arrears or fuel poverty.
Better understanding tenant data
One of the outcomes of the pandemic has been an increased focus by housing providers on gaining a more granular understanding of their tenants and their needs. By using data and analytics to profile and segment their tenants, combining data from multiple sources including front-line staff knowledge of their tenants and information provided by the tenants themselves, they can really target and pinpoint the right support to the right tenants.
But data and analytics don’t just underpin your decisions about tenants, they underpin all your business decisions.
Data underpins business decisions for your staff
This type of insight is also multi-level, meaning that it’s not just a tool used behind the scenes for strategic decision-making but also used operationally, using data to provide the right real-time information for front-line decision making, providing key insights and information to the right users and using this same data to become more agile and react faster when priorities change.
Predictive maintenance for your buildings
One of the other big areas being talked about across the housing sector at the moment is property maintenance and how housing providers can make the big leap to being proactive using smart technology.
With property maintenance being a necessary evil and the ongoing need to push more money and resources towards building better, more affordable and greener homes, it’s not surprising that housing providers want to turn to predictive maintenance to help manage the process.
Technology in IoT has rapidly advanced over the past decade, meaning that it’s now flexible enough to use in many business sectors. However, the real value that customers get is not from the technology itself (i.e. the devices) but from the data that can be extracted.
Not only does this data unlock key insights that you would otherwise have not known without stepping into the property itself, but you have also effectively given the property a brain, telling us the best most effective action to take on that property before we even know there was any action to take.
Data done right
Technology, in general, is going to be driven by three things; data, data and even more data. Every single asset that impacts how people live will be connected and producing vast quantities of data.
If this is done well, it will mean that these assets will intelligently talk to each other and innovative data models will be created that could have an incredible impact on every aspect of our lives.
If it’s done badly, it will mean dozens and dozens of new isolated solutions and apps that produce vast sums of numbers and reports that no one looks at. People will also start to become far warier about how their data is used, so any organisation that does want to use it will have to start providing some compelling reasons to their customers regarding why they want their data and how it will result in positive outcomes for them.
Connected data and artificial intelligence
The cost of property management is also going to be a massive driving factor. There is already an expectation on social housing providers to continue to provide the same, if not even higher, levels of service with fewer resources.
This is going to increase the need for automation. In a nutshell, over the next 20 years, every single thing that is done by a human that costs money will be examined with one question in mind, “can we do that cheaper?” Things that would never have been considered in past will be on the table, with human intervention as a last resort, not the first option. And this all comes back to connected data. Artificial intelligence has huge potential to drive this, but it is only as capable as the data it is working from.
Future proof your business
Collecting, storing, collating, analysing and using data both strategically and operationally is the key to the future ability of housing providers to deliver the right services at the right time, as cost-effectively as possible, so that tenant satisfaction and wellbeing increases and future business decisions can be based on good quality data insights.
To find out how Aareon can help you accelerate your ‘digital ready’ agenda, call us on 02476 323 723 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Tina Kennedy is the head of digital at Aareon UK.