08 Sep '21

The importance of Data Ethics in Social Housing

The increasing importance of data in both today and tomorrow’s world has been consistently highlighted by commentators as we navigate our way through the 21st century.

Both businesses and consumers add to their data footprint year after year as more aspects of our lives become recorded and digitised. There is currently estimated to be approximately 20.6 zettabytes in global data centre traffic per year and most analysts expect for this number to grow exponentially in the coming years.

Given the sheer volume of data now in circulation, organisations that are able to leverage and draw value from this data have a large advantage in many areas. For example, data allows organisations to better understand customer needs, shape their service offerings, lower costs, and deliver services more efficiently. This is particularly relevant for the Social Housing industry, where the significant power of data is still largely untapped. 

Given the vast large number of residents, service suppliers and home providers such as Housing Associations that interact within the Social Housing industry in some way, the data held will be extensive, expansive, and a lot of the time, personal.

As such the topic of Data Ethics is an important one for Social Housing. Whilst the challenges are many, they also bring enhanced opportunities. For example, Housing Associations that demonstrate leadership in this area may enhance trust as an organisation that looks after their tenants and their data. Although a difficult commodity to gain, customer trust is a powerful asset to have and a hard (if not almost impossible) asset to recover from once lost. 

In addition, Housing Associations should also consider the likely future regulatory requirements and potential upcoming industry guidelines. By playing an active part in considering Data Ethics now, organisations can ensure that they stay ahead of the regulatory curve and help to set the agenda in this area. This is especially important as the industry enhances their use of data through AI and other more advanced techniques to drive customer value.

We hope that you find them interesting and would be more than happy to discuss any of the points raised with you. Please contact us here.

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