Part of the answer is effective data management. It doesn’t matter how advanced or elaborate the data-driven technologies you implement are if the data that’s driving them isn’t up to scratch, and if the people in your organisation don’t understand its value and their responsibilities. While data management alone won’t make you a data-driven organisation overnight, it is the foundation that every organisation needs to become one, ensuring that your organisation always has access to reliable, accurate data whenever it is needed – whether you simply want your staff to have better access to information or you want to implement more complex digital initiatives like automation or self-service portals.
Once you have this high-quality data at your disposal, you can use it to offer a better, more reliable service to your customers – and close some of the critical gaps that many community-focused organisations are experiencing as they move to a more digital future.
Here, we look at some of those gaps and the data management fixes you need to close them.
Preventing vulnerable people from ‘falling through the gaps’
It’s a phrase used all too often in the media, as opportunities to support vulnerable people are missed by the organisations that have a duty of care to protect them.
In the charity sector, there was the elderly lady bombarded with donation requests. In social services, there have been several high-profile child neglect cases where important information wasn’t passed between the right people or departments. In housing associations, there are recent reports of lethal black mould being missed, with terrible consequences for tenants and their families.
Could better management and utilisation of data prevent instances like these from happening in the future? Perhaps. Data is, of course, never going to be the only factor in cases like these, but it can empower teams and individuals with the information they need to spot patterns, raise red flags, and take action quickly to protect and support vulnerable customers.
Close the gaps – or in other words, tackle your data silos. In community-focused organisations, data siloes aren’t just inconvenient, they can be dangerous: if different departments are keeping their data separate, it is much harder to see the full picture of any customer or situation, making it much easier for signs to be missed. Effective data management won’t just get rid of existing siloes, it will prevent new ones from forming in the future, thanks to a combination of education, technology and processes.