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Data Citizens ’19 Day Two – Making Data Intelligence the Goal

Yesterday was the second and final day of Data Citizens ’19 – our annual conference – and we explored how organizations are striving to put the concepts supporting data intelligence into practice in different ways. It’s clear that while regulatory use cases may drive some momentum, most organizations are looking at how they support business initiatives – including AI, machine learning, and IoT – when they seek to create true data intelligence.  

An important component of data intelligence is data democratization. The morning launched with an overview of the direction that Collibra development is taking from Jim Cushman, chief product officer. In his talk, he shared that we need to tackle obstacles to access and decision making in order to reach true data democratization. He walked the audience through the data intelligence journey that Collibra will be taking over the next two years in partnership with users as we both look to enable more people to find, access, and unlock the value of their data.

Viewing data ethics as good business

Another hot issue for delivering data intelligence is the future of data privacy and its relationship with emerging technologies. This was the focus of the morning’s panel discussion, chaired by Collibra’s new chief information security officer, Myke Lyons. The panel initially explored the current wave of data privacy regulations, including GDPR and CCPA. All agreed that there is more regulation to come, and that it’s important for organizations to take a more strategic approach to data privacy compliance, rather than “running around with your hair on fire” with each new ruleset.

However, the conversation quickly turned to the need to move beyond compliance. The panelists agreed on the importance of having a good ethical foundation when working with data. “Companies can also think of it as having competitive advantage, if they come forth with their ethical code of conduct, and are more direct and transparent in how they are using their data,” said Peggy Tsai, vice president – analytics & data at Morgan Stanley. “It’s a great way to distinguish themselves from their competitors.”

The final panel of the event was a group of change agents in business and IT that focused on the essential issue of collaborating effectively with the business about data. Featuring seven senior data executives, the panel explored the importance of building trust – both through the character the data governance team displays when it engages with the business, and by delivering results. The panelists spoke of the importance of being transparent, of not being afraid to talk about difficult topics, and of extending trust back to the business. They also noted the importance of effectively documenting successes through metrics where possible, and celebrating those successes by communicating about them to the organization. The panelists agreed that trust builds program success, as initial wins translate into being seen as a trusted partner by the business.

Bringing together data intelligence expertise

The conference began with an opening speech by our co-founder and CEO Felix Van de Maele that explored how data intelligence should be delivering value for organizations. This was followed by two panel discussions – the first on transforming data and analytics, and the second on future trends around storing data in the cloud. The technical director of applied AI at Google spoke about how today’s data could actually be used to write tomorrow’s software, as AI is increasingly being used to develop both hardware and software.

In his end-of-conference remarks, Felix celebrated the Collibra community’s engagement with the event and returned to a metaphor that was used often over the past two days – data as water. “We need to think about data as water – clear, useable, and available to everyone everywhere,” he said. “That is when we will be able to truly see the impact that it can have.”