Trust: The bedrock of every good (Data) relationship

Data sits at the heart of the criminal justice system. Tell me something I don’t know and in the words of Count Dracula in Sony Pictures film ‘Hotel Transylvania’… “Blah Blah Blah”. The statement is a given and yet we still feel we need to remind ourselves of it, probably, as many organisations, despite talking about it, and stating it, still haven’t harnessed the power of their data. And lets not start when it comes to sharing that data! We know the “So What?” and “Why?” when it comes to the strategic and tactical benefits of using data, especially at a time of great strain on resources and finances, so the question is not ‘Why’ do we need to harness data, the real question is, why are we not?

The excuse is not money. Data saves money, not always instantly, but utilising your data to the best of its ability should always reap financial benefits in the long term, whether that be actual savings, or in other ways such as reducing costs of maintaining multiple systems and licensing.

The excuse isn’t technology. Products, systems and processes exist or can be built to tackle all data challenges from improving access and visibility, to storage and proving insight.

The excuse is not uniqueness. “But our requirements and challenges are specific to us”. Most organisations face data challenges and although the subject and content of the data they hold may be different, the processes and technology needed to support them, is very similar.

The excuse isn’t time. Yes, data projects take longer to define, plan and implement, but a lack of time cannot be used as a way of putting off starting. The longer it takes to start, the longer it takes to finish.

So, if money, technology, uniqueness and time are not the excuses, then why are we not all basking in the glow of a data revolution? One word. Trust.

  • Trust in the data
  • Trust in your organisation
  • Trust in technology
  • And…Trust in partners

As an Arsenal fan, ‘Trust the process’ is a phrase used by the manager to explain and encourage fans that there is a plan, and if everyone sticks together and believes, then the team can reach its goal. Why is this any different when harnessing power from data?

Partners, whether they be technology or consultancy, can help and its vitally important that you trust the partners you work with. Data security is always an essential factor when adopting a partnership and lack of trust leads to nervousness and barriers forming, both of which hugely hamper the ability to harness and share data benefits. Partners have the expertise to support organisations, and in the same way we don’t try and manufacture our own boots and uniforms, why in many cases, do we try and manage data projects and build our own systems. Yes, organisations have the corporate and operational knowledge essential for these projects, but they need support from experts in data, to fully appreciate the power they could harness.

Data sharing is often a “I’ll show you mine if you show me yours” scenario with both parties unwilling to go first. A partner can help in this scenario too and also provide technical solutions to data sharing. In many cases though, sharing of data is a challenge within organisations not just between them, and this lack of internal trust is only amplified with the introduction of third-party companies. Frameworks can be put in place to safeguard data and a partner with expertise and experience in secure data will have the knowledge to ensure success.

The public expects and needs a lot from its Criminal Justice System, and if data IS at the heart of what we do, technology and guidance to access and share the data exists, BUT we don’t have the organisational capability or knowledge to do this, then TRUST in partners is essential in harnessing its power and delivering for the public.

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