Zorgeloos Vastgoed: proof of the value of cross-sectoral data sharing
Data Sharing Coalition participant HDN (Hypotheken Data Netwerk) is a Dutch non-profit cooperative association that aims to achieve greater efficiency and innovation in financial services and is mainly focused on mortgages. HDN enables data sharing between chain parties with its co-created HDN standard and platform. HDN facilitates the application, acceptance and management process of around 80% of applications for mortgages and mortgage-related products in the Netherlands, i.e. 106 billion euro (2019).
In 2019, HDN was one of the initiating parties of ‘Zorgeloos Vastgoed’ (‘Carefree Real Estate’), a cross-sectoral data sharing initiative of several chain partners that work together on a better exchange of data between all parties involved in the chain of buying a house. This should ultimately result in a better service for the consumer: the buyer or seller of this house. Zorgeloos Vastgoed is a great example of a project that shows that when organisations share structured data across industries, the true value of data can be unlocked. That is why we spoke with Reinier van der Heijden (CEO of HDN) and Steve Bertens (Product Owner HDN Standard) to get a better understanding of what comes into play when realising data sharing across sectors.
Buying or selling a house: a time–consuming process
At the moment, when someone wants to buy or sell a house, many parties are involved throughout the process: real estate agents, real estate appraisers, land registry, notaries, mortgage advisors/suppliers and banks. “Sharing data between all these parties is a complex, time consuming and messy process. Besides, it is susceptible to errors and fraud, as many different sources are used throughout the process”, says Van der Heijden. “This is why all information that is shared between parties needs to be validated every single time by each party in the chain. When validation of data only has to be done once for the entire chain – because data contains a stamp that is linked to the original source – this means that a mortgage can be provided in a much more efficient manner, which is faster and less stressfull for the buyerl.”
Zorgeloos Vastgoed: finding common ground for cross-sectoral data sharing
Finding a common approach for data sharing between all chain parties could make the process of buying or selling a house much more efficient, for both consumers and the parties themselves. This is why in 2019, HDN, together with Kadaster (Land Registry), KNB (Royal Notarial Professional Organisation) and NVM (Dutch Association of Estate Agents and Valuers) started the cross-sectoral data initiative Zorgeloos Vastgoed. Van der Heijden: “Our mission is providing clarity and security to property owners by offering reliable and validated data about the buyer, seller, property and financing in a better and faster way.”
Challenges with regards to cross-sectoral data sharing
However, this is still a dot on the horizon. While moving forward, Zorgeloos Vastgoed has to address several challenges around the different aspects of such a project.
Collaboration – Similar to the Data Sharing Coaliton, Zorgeloos Vastgoed is an open and inclusive initiative and therefore includes many organisations. “The biggest challenge for all parties is to step over their shadow and take a look at the bigger picture: the goal of this project,” says Van der Heijden, who experiences that the complexity of discussions increases with the number of stakeholders involved. Van der Heijden: “Not only new parties are joining the initiative, but sometimes people switch jobs and new faces join the table. You may not expect them to be immediately convinced of our project. Especially since the (often short-term) operational objectives of organisations do not always match the more long-term objectives of Zorgeloos Vastgoed.”
Interoperability – A cross-sectoral data sharing initiative means making agreements about the smallest details. “Take for example semantics”, says Bertens: “Each party involved is an authority in their own field and speaks their own language. Where one party uses ‘property’, the other prefers ‘estate’ or ‘building’. It is important that each chain partner understands these words. That is why we are working on a taxonomy that contains centralised terminology that can be mapped to the language of each party involved. This enables parties from different domains to communicate while still using the semantics of their respective domain.
Governance – Ensuring that parties implement the cross-sectoral agreements when the project is finalised is just as important. Van der Heijden: “The agreements about the exchange of data, for example with regards to taxonomy, will not only have to be written down, they also need to be implemented and governed. One way to solve this is to establish a foundation that governs the cross-sectoral agreements while safeguarding the interests of all chain parties.”
Best practices for cross-sectoral data sharing
Just like the Data Sharing Coalition, Zorgeloos Vastgoed believes that cross-sectoral data sharing initiatives help to unlock the true value of data, and should build on standards, technology and frameworks that already exist. Van der Heijden: “Looking at what the market already offers is very important. In an ideal world you would start from scratch, but reality is different. Seek alignment with existing market standards and rather build a ‘system of systems’ than an entirely new one. By doing that you also ensure that chain parties do not feel attacked or ignored, because the set up of their processes is respected.”
As initiatives like Zorgeloos Vastgoed show the value that can be unlocked when data is shared across sectors, the Data Sharing Coalition provides a platform for the development of similar use cases. Besides, the Data Sharing Coalition aims to develop a common ground that will make it easier to develop and launch these cross-sectoral initiatives.
Would you like to know more about Zorgeloos Vastgoed? Then visit zorgeloosvastgoed.nl (Dutch only). Are you interested to contribute to definining and realising new cross-sectoral use cases of data sharing? Then join our international, open and involved community.