Introduction

Housing Association & Local Government managers need clear answers to questions ranging from ‘how can we build our communities on an ever-tightening budget?’ to ‘how do we support our customers such that fewer fall into arrears’. To be of value, the answers need to trigger decisions and action. But the greatest challenge often involves getting others to grasp where the issues lie and then agree the way forward. People may not understand the issues in the same way, or fully appreciate their implications for the business. However, we respond far more quickly to visual images than the written word or tables of numbers. When issues are explained through simple, powerful images backed up by data people are much more likely to respond in the right way. Below are three examples from different RPs of visual presentations of issues that prompted action. Hopefully they will inspire others to influence thinking in the same way.

1. How do we find time to do more?

The first relates to a Neighbourhood Team wanting to do more for their communities, but upon a fiercely tightening budget. When their hours were plotted in the layer cake chart below the way forward became clear. Turn around the growing demand for time on arrears and accounts processes, and even though it was declining, tackle the time devoted to enforcing court outcomes. Although these were not straightforward paths to take, agreement across the business and a commitment to act were achieved.

2. How can we build a greater surplus?

The second relates to an Asset Investment team that provides outsourced repairs and maintenance services to others. The surplus achieved however made the service barely worthwhile. However, with the costs arranged as shown below, the reasons and the way forward became clear. Delve into the billing process to discover why so much cost was being missed from invoices to the client, and then work with the client to find ways to minimise the amount of rework being performed. Agreement and a commitment to act soon followed.

3. What’s the real cost of maintaining our communities?

The third example reflects a requirement to really understand how the cost to serve communities are forecast to change. The budget for supporting customers (all services) was broken down by team. The budget for any team could then be drilled into to see what factors are doing most to drive the cost and how they are best forecasted into the future.

The challenge

The challenge for management teams is to be able to move quickly forward to the point at which they are receiving the information they need – unhindered by debates about data quality problems or the need to first put data into a centralised structure. Yes those things need to be addressed, but the world won’t wait for it to happen. Working in partnership with you we design and develop the business intelligence that you require to get decisions made fast – using just the data required, wherever it sits in your organisation. Once you are up and running with the right debates and decisions taking place we then support the development of the data structures which will be following up behind.   We at Develin have provided this service to large number of organisations across many different business sectors. If we can help you through direct support, training, or a combination of the two, please don’t hesitate to get in touch.