Data grows. The digital creation and encapsulation of information advances, advances, rises and expands in an ever spiraling and flourishing journey of eternal expansion all the time.
Thinking about how we’re going to work with data on the road ahead typically leads IT vendors to make relatively unavoidable comments that fall into a broad category of predictable postulation platitudes. Spokespeople love to talk about how every business is becoming a data-driven organization, the need to democratize data literacy across entire departments, and the need to understand why data is the strongest asset of all. company – beyond its equipment, process skills and perhaps even its people. .
The tech folks who tend to talk about how data will now be used at a basic practical level are arguably more interesting. It is clear and urgent to look for parts of the business where data models and data sets can be reused without us having to reinvent the wheel each time.
The Swing to Data Value
Another way to put it is the shift to an understanding of the value of data.
According to Satyen Sangani in his role as CEO and co-founder of data management and analytics company Alation, “In 2023, the pendulum will swing from innovation to value as these [data-driven decision-making focused] organizations navigate economic uncertainty.
Don’t hold your breath, but Sangani suggests we could hear less about these tired, worn-out initiatives for “innovation” again and again. Indeed – beyond innovation, we need to go through return on investment (ROI) because we’ve been there before and discussed that as well – now we need to know what value a company derives from its data.
This could happen, i.e. IT projects that don’t have a data value row on their spreadsheet simply won’t get funded.
Obviously, this means enabling data democracy and enabling the so-called data citizen scientist, but we will have to do this with caution and not cede too much power at two levels a) by putting the wrong data tools between the hands of the wrong people and giving them access to data they shouldn’t be fighting over – and b) trying to offload too much responsibility from professional data scientists (and indeed business people) and ” simply waiting for relatively average users to find the answers.
Despite these caveats, Sangani still insists that platforms will have to be built for the non-technical data user. “Breaking silos by connecting everything and being easily adoptable and engaging so that all users, regardless of role, can find, understand and use data collaboratively.” Platforms that don’t execute this level of cross-organizational data governance and data democratization will become obsolete,” he said.
The rise of data bootcamps
Sangani’s colleague, John Wills, is field CTO at Alation. Suggesting that 2023 will see a big push for data democracy, Wills uses the term data bootcamps to describe what could (or perhaps should) happen now.
“In addition to a greater emphasis on data literacy, next year  will be the year of data bootcamps, where organizations are increasingly turning to external data training services to develop employees, helping to both improve the overall quality of data talent while increasing the importance data and creating an engaging data culture.
What is a data bootcamp? As suggested, this could be a skills initiative day with employees receiving hands-on training in the use of data analysis tools. Tasked with solving problems fabricated on the basis of dummy data, users could look for patterns, trends, outliers and indicators to guide further use of the information tools and possibly apply them to their own challenges in Workplace. Once blank guns have been used throughout the bootcamp experience, it would probably be time to let the employees go wild on the open battlefield with live ammunition.
There are many other caveats, stipulations, conditions and limitations to allow all of this to happen, especially given the reality of the Covid-induced “big quit” and the lingering reality of employees working from home. This means more data is being processed remotely, sometimes at the kitchen dining table.
As he said here before, according to Alation’s Wills, “This higher turnover rate has put additional pressure on already operating businesses as they have lost talented employees and the crucial institutional knowledge that often came with them.” For organizations that did not have strong data retention systems, lost information with employees can be difficult or impossible to replace. As companies look to avoid such losses in the future, more will turn to data intelligence platforms that can store, organize and surface key insights to mitigate the impact that an employee loss can have on a business.
More controls, clean kills
We used the terms (above) open battlefield and live ammunition for a reason; as we move forward in the march towards data value (which in this analogy could perhaps represent net eliminations?) and capture the flag, we will need to think about how we balance the amount of funds spent on compliance with data regulations and away from data innovation.
From an industry perspective, automation can help massively here. The Alation team reminds us that many powerful data access and security controls are now automated and have been for some time. But, they say, we can expect data governance automation to combine existing automated operations with the development of data governance policies to free up time for data teams to focus on business innovation without exposing a business to the risk of attack.
Again, this sounds great on paper, but now we know how dangerous automatic weapons can be in the wrong hands, right? The mission is a data value and everyone receives battle fatigues, powerful weapons, and a set of field supplies.
So who brought the card and is the safety catch on?