Magazine article Information Today

Transformational Data

Magazine article Information Today

Transformational Data

Article excerpt

Often, when I am looking over articles from other Information Today, Inc. publications, I'll find one that I think is interesting, but then wonder, "How does this topic relate to Information Today readers?" As I was going through the Fall 2017 issue of Big Data Quarterly, two columns caught my eye, and it hit me that both columnists are discussing areas that information professionals can relate to and need to know about. So, here goes ...

Data Governance

"Just Because You Can, Doesn't Mean You Should" is the intriguing headline of Anne Buff's Governing Guidelines column. "Can do what?" I immediately wanted to know. Buff explains, "Businesses of all sizes across all industries are rapidly adopting digital transformation models that put data at the center of driving the business forward.... However, putting data at the center of everything the business does can be risky without proper planning and rigorous management." And that's where data governance comes in: to protect corporate data assets and set up a framework for operational excellence. Simply put, businesses need defined standards and policies as well as mechanisms for consistency and repeatable processes. They need models that aren't just all about ROI, productivity, and cost reduction, but that also address consumer data and personally identifiable information (PII). With so much access to PII, businesses are in the best position yet to use this information for new product development and services. And this is where Buffs headline comes into play: Just because businesses now have this heady option, is it ethical to use it?

Buff goes on to mention the European Union's General Data Protection Regulation and notes that "the impact of data use by businesses ... on individuals, communities, and the environment is under constant scrutiny." She says that ethical data use goes beyond just following compliance regulations. This is because ethical concerns always trump legal and compliance requirements. Brand risk makes the stakes huge. One wrong move could send a business into an irreversible tailspin.

Here is another part of the problem: Ethics are about human values and morals, not business needs. Ergo, ethical decisions do not come from mission statements or business goals; they must come from "the ever-evolving value constructs of the individuals and communities businesses serve." I mentally added, "and the communities libraries serve," for much of Buff's concerns can parallel the potential use of all the patron information a library now has close at hand.

Buff wraps up her column by advising businesses to use data governance programs to define customer values and then incorporate them into their existing policies. She borrows four key elements from the book Ethics of Big Data as the basis for doing so:

* Identity--Determine how a person wishes to be known: Online? Offline? Anonymously?

* Privacy--What are a user's defined rights?

* Ownership--Who has and what is inherent ownership?

* Reputation--What data is trustworthy?

Buff concludes, "Data decisions can no longer be based solely on what is good for the business; they must also be based on what consumers value and see as appropriate and acceptable."

Twin Peeks

Not to be outdone by Buff's eye-catching headline, the title of Bart Schouw's The IoT Insider column is "How DYa Like Your Eggs in the Morning? …

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