26 Apr Data: it’s all about trust
News this week that Unroll.me has been busy selling customer data really gets to the crux of why there is a need for better data management and governance.
People need to be able to trust companies, not worry that when they sign up for a web service allowing them to unsubscribe en masse from mailing lists, newsletters and other email annoyances, they are only to discover that in order to monetise this free service, their personal data is being sold.
This is why GDPR is needed and it can’t come fast enough.
As the value of data increases, consumers trust in organisations to manage it properly is rapidly decreasing. Revelations such as Unroll.me selling aggregated data about users to the very apps they were unsubscribing from doesn’t help.
People are starting to lose trust in the internet because their personal data is such a valuable commodity and they know it. This is why there is a desperate need for better data management and governance.
As data scientist Bradley Voytek famously said while at Uber: “I don’t need to know everything about everybody. I just need to know a little bit about a whole bunch of people.” But these people have a right to know what this is and how their data is being used. They do not need to be told that they should have read the small print.
In data we trust
Whilst the desire to improve the customer experience is at the heart of Big Data it often isn’t being managed well. Clearly, the more relevant data that is gathered, the more personalised the experience for customers but this does mean that the importance of having excellent processes in place to capture and manage data is more crucial than ever if companies want to get it right.
Those that succeed will be the ones who can properly leverage both data and technology to make customers’ lives better. They will also be the ones that consumers trust.
Proponents of data value management have long urged organisations to see data as a corporate asset and they are right. Just like any asset organisations should attach cost and value to their data but it is clear that only a small minority of market leaders are doing this.
The majority only consider data in this way when a specific requirement rears its head. Often this will be a regulatory change such as GDPR.
We need consumers to trust us
This is understandable as the cost of entry into the data value management club can be high. There are software costs, management consulting costs and technical implementation costs. The promise of return on investment from data governance has in the past needed to be cast iron. But waiting until a project demands better data management is simply too risky.
Action is needed now to ensure consumer trust is maintained in online services. And there’s much that needs to be done, from identifying all your key stakeholders, setting up a steering committee and nominating data stewards, to defining data related rules and processes, implementing data quality related processes and assigning decision rights and accountabilities. This all needs to be done properly and in time for GDPR.
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