Westward Housing Group – Data Quality Assurance

The Organisation

Westward Housing owns and manages approximately 7000 homes across Devon and has a commercial arm, Horizon Homes, which delivers homes for market sale.

The Challenge

Westward has been on a path of transformation into a digital business since 2017. It recognised then that its data was in poor shape and would not be able to successfully support digital processes or process automation. Since then it has worked with 3C to complete a programme of data cleansing, revising its data standards, developing its data dictionary and introducing new data governance arrangements to oversee data quality. However, the Chief Executive realised that maintaining data quality was challenging and that in some areas, data quality was slipping.

As Westward moved into completion of its programme of digital transformation projects, it needed to ensure that its data quality is tightly monitored and maintained at the best quality feasible. Westward approached 3C regarding the issue it wanted to resolve – was there a way of maintaining data quality that improved upon the reliance on exception reporting?

The Solution

3C has started using the Infoboss data quality solution to support its data quality consultancy. 3C introduced Westward to Infoboss and is now working with Westward to install Infoboss and develop the indexing of its unstructured data held in shared drives and email.

  • Infoboss is providing Westward with a sustainable solution to managing the data quality of both their unstructured and structured data. 
  • It offers a user friendly way for monitoring the quality of current data across multiple systems, enabling data insight and business analysts to refocus on their core job roles rather than having to constantly manage the every growing list of exception reports to firefight data quality issues. With BAs confidently using Infoboss across their core housing management system, Westward will be able to move from being reactive to proactive

The Benefits

Within one hour of going live, 3C had been able to analyse 63 GB of unstructured data held in Westward’s shared drive, identifying inconsistencies in data held in multiple files and data that conflicted with that held in the core structured database, Capita One. Previously Westward had no way of analysing this data and would have relied on manual reconciliation of data whenever errors came to light.

  • Infoboss enables Westward to expand their view of their data – they are able to add layers of insight in to their data quality, moving from a narrow view of identifying which fields have been left blank to easily identifying where a post code or mobile number is in the wrong format. 
  • The use of Infoboss to provide a sustainable way of managing data quality which underpins key transformation projects at Westward – higher quality data will improve relationships with tenants by having accurate details for their preferred contact method.
  • The use of infoboss over unstructured data such as the shared network drive is also helping to support Westward’s migration to sharepoint – moving to a new system or platform provides an opportunity to start with a clean slate, you don’t want to be migrating over the same copy of the latest customer newsletter because 10 different people have all saved it in different folders. (see example above)
  • Compliance – assured compliance with GDPR – taking all reasonable steps to ensure that they personal data that they hold is up to date, not incorrect or misleading as to any matter of fact. Looking at unstructured data also provides the chance that there’s no personal or sensitive information being saved in the wrong places and helps to have better control of document retention.
3C has been instrumental in helping us improve the quality of our data over the last three years, however the use of Infoboss has been a game changer in improving the ease and speed of analysing data quality. With 3C’s help, we will be able to continue improving the quality of our data and maintaining it into the future. We now have data we can trust and can provide assurance to the Westward board that the data we are using to drive the business is of excellent quality.
Barbara Shaw CEO of Westward