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Compliant data freedom: Oxymoron or opportunity?

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Offering Manager, IBM Analytics

Whether we find ourselves shopping for the latest tech gadget or something even bigger like a new car, the one thing we rely on to make the right decision is data. Data in the form of a product’s specifications, reviews from the experts, as well as data in the form of comments and reviews from fellow consumers. By processing this data, we derive key insights to make an informed purchase decision. The data in this case is most often made freely available by the product manufacturer or through a retailer’s website, and we, as consumers, inherently trust it. The same cannot be said, however, for enterprise data. 

Compliance as a barrier

For data to be free for driving business insights, it has to be well-understood and trusted, while complying with regulatory obligations and conforming to corporate mandates. Traditionally, however, freedom and compliance of data are at odds with each other — keeping data compliant requires the use of highly restrictive controls and the degree of control is inversely proportional to the freedom of access. Is compliant data freedom then only wishful thinking or can something be done to make it real?

Compliance as an opportunity

A few organizations have turned upside down the notion of compliance as a barrier, and are looking at it as an opportunity to build a trusted data source. They are taking a methodical approach to bring all types of data (including IoT data), understand the data, apply corporate-wide and regional compliance requirements and transform data to provide a single source of truth. Doing so has helped them trust the data and enable democratization of data for self-service analytics.

A modern taken on information governance is required to convert the oxymoron into an opportunity. To succeed, this modernized governance approach would need to safely democratize data while ensuring compliance mandates are met in parallel. It would have to build on top of investments already made and be infused with a rich set of capabilities.

What can companies do? Seven steps to making the most of compliance

Organizations can complete the following steps to convert compliance into an opportunity:

  • Create a unified catalog of all information assets within the enterprise that then enables users to readily find fit-for-purpose information, in a collaborative, self-service fashion.
  • Offer a set of composable, highly scalable and secure services to handle integration, quality and lifecycle governance needs, at scale.
  • Unify management of governance across all types of enterprise information, whether structured or unstructured, on-premise or in the private or public cloud.
  • Be open and extensible by design such that it can be customized and integrated into other governance and security ecosystems.
  • Augment with machine learning and automation to help discover and understand both visible and dark data, liberating its potential to drive insights and innovation across the enterprise.
  • Build with active governance principles in mind, allowing for policy monitoring and enforcement in real time tailored by your industry.
  • Cater to modern enterprise assets, such as analytical models and APIs.

The above steps outline the definition of a modernized enterprise information governance platform in the unified governance era. Many large organizations still have a large part of their data on-premise, but need data from a public cloud. Irrespective of where the data resides, by applying the steps highlighted above, organizations can build a trusted data source from which they can drive key business insights and derive significant sustained advantages. 

Learn more about IBM Unified Governance and learn how to bring order to structured and unstructured data.