Delivering Data Solutions to the Housing Sector

Douglas Silverstone is the Head of Data, Analytics and Information Security at Metropolitan Thames Valley.  Responsible for the data on 60,000 homes more than 100,000 tenants and countless repairs and components. Housing Data is becoming increasingly complex and interrelated.   Be that legislative requirement, IoT, or simply providing a better service to our tenants, both the data we collect and the information we manage is increasing by the day.

Douglas has led the Data governance initiative at Metropolitan Thames Valley Housing. Beyond this, he is a thought leader in the sector setting up a housing data forum and a strong advocate of the HACT data standards, which enable associations to work better together and deliver more for their tenants. His approach has led to a fundamental step-change in the way data is understood and used, and helps MTVH to be leaders in their field.

Doug’s thoughts on where a data team sits in an organisation?

I’m kind of agnostic about the role of the Chief Data Officer. There are often conversations about where a data team sits in an organisation. I’ve never come across the right answer. My team sits in the technology team, but I know other teams sit in finance and some teams sit in governance whilst others have their own department.

But because data is all-encompassing, it covers a whole organisation. It means placing a team in all the locations I mentioned is a valid strategy. So you have to decide where your data team will add the most value to your company and place them in the team that will help them grow your profits.

Having a CDO is amazing, but the important thing isn’t the role its getting data acknowledged as essential at a high level in your organisation. If you’re like my company, we have 6 executive directors and they all understand data. I can have a detailed conversation with each and every one of them about data. So there isn’t a need for us to have a CDO. But if we didn’t have such a data literate C-suite then a CDO would be useful.