To help celebrate our 10-year anniversary, we hosted our first ever Open Day.
Knowsley Hall in Merseyside provided a wonderful backdrop to mark the occasion with a mix of both customers and neighbouring authorities in attendance to find out more about the future of data management.
The rise of the Analytical Manager
First up was Managing Director of Destin Solutions, Nigel McAvoy who noted that the future of data management was no longer a technology issue with cheaper storage and faster processing technology than ever before – it was a human issue. All the information needs to get to the right person at the right time to make an informed decision and if this doesn’t happen the whole exercise is pointless. People need to change how they work with, and use, data. Nigel talked about the rise of the ‘Analytical Manager’ someone who understands their way through data, who can work out what needs to be done, where improvements can be made but who also has the power to push through change based on business cases supported by real information.
Using data to support business cases
Julie Smethurst, Revenues Manager from Preston and Lancaster Shared Service, provided an excellent example of this during her own session. She talked about how Destin Solutions were able to generate a report using their VISION management reporting and analytics tool to identify the amount of change of addresses dealt with across both Preston and Lancaster in 2015/16. She was then able to calculate the typical time staff spent processing these and used the data to successfully put a case forward for using the Capita change of address forms instead of their current form. This new approach meant the data not only linked into their core system, time was also saved on staff processing and errors were reduced.
Using data to measure and manage performance
Paula Doherty, Principal Benefit Officer from Dumfries and Galloway Council, offered another perspective talking about data management as a means for measuring staff productivity and performance. She highlighted the pitfalls that many organisations face, in that you can spend so much time measuring performance you have no time left to manage it. To address this Dumfries worked with Destin Solutions to put in place a workflow management system which enabled them to measure all staff activity and calculate the amount of time it takes to complete outstanding work. A traffic light system was put in place to alert supervisors where a backlog of work was building up so they could then manage the issue. Since working with Destin Solutions over the last 10 years, Paula has managed to increase productivity in her department by 20% and continues to look at ways to increase this further today.
Collaborative data solutions
We then heard from Nicola Herrick, Account Director at Equifax, who talked about the collaborative data solutions they offer jointly with Destin Solutions. Taking data from reports run by Destin’s VISION solution, Equifax can run data matching and analysis on areas like empty property lists, applying over thirty different credit checks to identify the likelihood of a property now being occupied. Similarly, by running a report of all people receiving single person discounts in an Authority, Equifax can validate the composition of that household checking the number of individuals at a property, occupancy dates and names and dates of birth. This data is then returned and uploaded back into the VISION reporting tool so Authorities can take action on any undisclosed occupants registered at a property, identifying and reducing instances of fraud more quickly and cost effectively.
Duncan Baxter, Director at Destin Solutions, summed it all up quite nicely in his session, good data management is about automating processes and removing the need to manually gather data. When you achieve that, your resources can spend more time on analysing the data and refining processes based on those insights, which is what councils like Dumfries, Preston and Lancaster are already doing. They are effectively now reviewing what previously went un-reviewed and using this to challenge practices and processes to drive further improvements.