The impact of flawed data has a ripple effect well beyond the IT department. For example, if the data is not updated as expected, it will not present a current picture of reality to customers or employees. The result is that the company can experience customer disappointment or reputational damage. “Today’s systems are complex, and issues are always going to arise,” continued Gavish. “New code in a data warehouse or CRM system can have an unexpected impact if there are errors in the coding.” Given this inevitability, the best defense is quick detection and quick correction.
Data quality is a cornerstone of data governance. “Detection is the first principle in managing reliability,” Gavish added. “But once a problem is identified, identifying the root cause can be difficult. Finding the cause of a problem can take weeks. With Monte Carlo, users can look at a single pane of glass and see the data flow and zero in on the source of the problem. It brings the time to understanding from weeks down to minutes and hours.”
Respect for privacy now a must
The General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect in May 2018 to protect computer users’ privacy, and vigorous enforcement soon followed. In July 2021, Amazon was fined $887 million for failing to protect personal data. In May 2023, Meta was fined $1.3 billion for transferring data from Facebook users in Europe to the United States.
As dramatic as these rulings are, compliance is only part of the story about privacy. In the context of KM, the challenge is to collect and use data in a responsible way, with sensitive information protected appropriately, but to still allow for collaboration within and outside the organization, as well as the delivery of relevant and valued information to customers. This dynamic hinges on trust, which can be slow to develop and easily lost.
A Pew Research Center study on privacy and social media found that more than 80% of respondents felt they had little or no control over data collected by companies or the government. A similar percentage felt that the risks of data collected by companies outweighed the benefits, and there was somewhat less concern about data collection by the government. A majority do not understand how the data is collected and used by either entity.
To protect data appropriately, organizations must first understand their data and its contents, which is done through the discovery process. “Once organizations know what is in the data, they can classify it into categories that designate certain data as sensitive,” said Ojas Rege, general manager of OneTrust’s Privacy and Data Governance Cloud. OneTrust is a leading provider of privacy solutions that allow organizations to responsibly collect and use data. “Many obligations arise when personal data is collected,” continued Rege, “including knowing what is in the organization’s many repositories.”