This is a letter to the Editor from Certass:

Dear Jason

The recent industry news that GGF Group has collated data from its knowledge hub into a ‘Glazing Market Knowledge Report and is charging for copies may well rightly raise some alarm bells with local SME Installers. When your data becomes a product, that is either distributed as a member benefit or sold for a profit, the key questions are – who benefits and who loses?

Obviously, the first beneficiary will be the party selling or sharing that information. Then there are the companies being given or purchasing the information, who can potentially use it to gain a commercial advantage.

The argument likely will be that as the data is anonymised to comply with GDPR then there is no harm to provide it. However, I firmly believe that any report which takes local knowledge and delivers it in an easily digestible format (for data miners) to large companies could cause definite harm to the SME Installer who already knows their local market. It is the typical contrast between the local installer who operates on reputation and local knowledge to larger companies who have big sales and marketing budgets.

The data in the GGF report is likely to be of little to no use to a local installer who can tell you which products sell best probably estate by estate; they know what they quoted for a job and know which jobs they lost.

But the report promises to expose that key regional data on window and door installations over the last few years, including the number of installations, broken down by the number of windows and doors per job as well as average costs per job and per unit.

In the IT world, data is king, so a local SME installer should guard theirs closely. Even anonymised data has the potential to do great harm to local markets. The question for SMEs is, who do you trust with your data and are you aware that reports like this could use your data in this way?

It’s situations like this that led Certass to form the Installer Protection Committee (IPC), to create a platform where SME installers can have their voice heard. We meet every other month to discuss what’s happening in the industry and get real-world views from installers, who tell us what support they would like to see from the industry. We believe this is a much more valuable way of supporting the industry and our members.

As for Certass members’ data, it remains protected at all times. We only use the data that is given to us for the purpose it is given to us for – certifying installations, so installers have full control of what their data is used for.

Jason Clemmit

Managing Director, Certass

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