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Data realities of 2017 and beyond

Thornton May | Feb. 7, 2017
There’s no escaping the facts anymore: Data rules everything now. Are IT leaders prepared to deal with that?

Who determines what data will be shared with what devices under which circumstances? Will we need a database to keep track of all the devices we have relationships with, another of which devices have relationships with which other devices and yet another of data permissions we have granted and revoked? A question looming in the not-so-distant future is how much of machine-to-machine language humans will need to understand. 

Two ways of considering the balance of power between individuals and the data colossi are data empowerment and transparency. Data empowerment is the degree to which you can decide who knows what about you and when — now and in the future. Transparency is how knowable an individual or organization is. In this early stage of our digital society, individuals are becoming more and more transparent, while some organizations are becoming more opaque. But marketers tell me that consumers will influence companies by valuing transparency. To be successful, brands will have to be transparent about diversity in their workforce, sources of their raw materials, their eco-behaviors and more. 

Sadly, although we live in a data-defined reality, the vast majority of executives leading major institutions today have received no formal training in data management. It will be fascinating to see what path individuals and organizations follow as they seek to hone and enhance data skills and rectify data deficiencies. Will universal measures of data skills be created? To be employable in the future, will one need to possess as-yet-unagreed-upon data skills certifications? 

The bottom line is we exist at a moment when individuals have infinite choice regarding what data they wish to collect, analyze and act upon.

Data matters.


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