If this article sounds familiar, it’s because I’ve written about data before. Still, it seems as a sector the message isn’t quite getting through. So, once more unto the breach my friend.
1 Accept Your Data Isn’t That Great
Despite holding a huge array of information Social Landlords remain poor at maintaining it. A bit like a teenage boy encountering his first bra. We fumble around in the dark a bit, tell ourselves other people struggle just as badly and hope we haven’t completely put off the poor lass trying (and failing) to unclip that tricky double clasp.
2 Get Your Data Out of That Silo
No doubt there are a number of people in your organisation who get data. Sadly they tend to fall into 2 groups. 1) The Smeagols, their ‘precious’ is not to be messed with. You can look at the data, but you can’t touch it as you’ll mess things up. God forbid if you want to amend anything. This OCD approach to keeping data ‘perfect’ helps no one. 2) The hardcore geek, frantically trying to keep order but unable to get buy-in from anyone outside their team. Siloed away this potential resource is perennially ignored until it’s end of year reporting time. Getting all parts of your organisation to understand the importance of data, and guide them how to use it is essential. Otherwise you might as well go pee into the proverbial wind.
3 – Your Training Needs a Refresh
Let’s face it, when people start a new job they are bombarded with information. A week to 2 weeks of ramning home compulsory training and corporate indoctrination is not the best environment to induce learning. Alas this is when people tend to get their system/data use training. And frankly you can give people all the training in the world and they will ignore it and just copy the person next to them.
4 – Customer Segmentation is a rule of thumb, not an absolute
Like Tamagotchis, Pokeman and Yoyos odd trends in data come in and out of fashion. Customer segmentation is a perfect example of this. It must be said that CS is a very useful tool. But, and it is a big but. CS is a guide, it is not definitive. In legal speak it is a burden of proof that is on the balance of probabilities, not something that is beyond all reasonable doubt. Remind senior staff this when they start throwing buzzwords around. It is embaressing when you go to external events and hear people chat crap on this topic. Stop it. Stop it now. Ps it wasn’t anyone from my organisation, thank the maker.
5 – Bad Data In, Bad Data Out
Strange as it seems if you pump your housing management system full of crap, it will give you crap. Whilst most data systems have validation rules you can put in place, you’d be amazed at how creative people get when wanting to get round things they find burdensome. It’s not just Investment Banks and expensive lawyers who can find loopholes. This ties into point 3, I would back it up with carrots and big nasty sticks to ensure compliance.
So there you have it. If this is sounding horribly familiar, unlucky. But acceptance is the first part of the grieving process. After which you might start to resolve the issues at hand.