Lost in translation: Data workers don’t trust company data

Published on the 17/07/2019 | Written by Heather Wright

Data trust

Mind that perception gap…

Data may be the new oil for business and one of the most valuable assets these days, but it’s causing a crisis of confidence, with less than one-third of data specialists confident they can deliver trusted data at speed to their organisation.

That lack of confidence, however, doesn’t extend to senior IT management, with a clear gap between the confidence exhibited by senior management and those actually working directly with the data highlighted in a new report.

The Data Trust Readiness report, from data integration company Talend, shows 46 percent of senior IT managers have high levels of trust in their company’s data. For operational data workers – those dealing with the data on a day to day basis – the trust is far lower at 31 percent.

And that’s not the only perception gap around data handling. While 49 percent of respondents at a management level feel ‘very confident’ about having standing access to data, it’s a view shared by only 31 percent of data workers.

It’s often assumed that speed is an IT issue, but it’s not always clear that the business is responsible for data integrity.

Meanwhile, confidence in data quality is low: Only 38 percent of respondents believe their companies excel in controlling data quality, with just 29 percent of operational data workers confident their company’s data is always accurate and up-to-date.

The report, which surveyed 763 data professionals globally, paints a grim picture in an age of increased data regulations – yet another area where opinions between senior management and those actually working with the data on a daily basis differ significantly.

While 52 percent of respondents at a management level claim to be ‘very optimistic’ about their company having achieved compliance with data regulations, that falls to just 39 percent when it comes to the data workers who may be in charge of making the practical changes to deliver compliance.

So, what’s a company to do to close that perception gap and ensure they have trusted data which can be delivered when it is needed and replied upon to drive critical business insights while also ensuring compliance?

The Data Trust Readiness report says data confidence requires both data integrity and speed.

“The data must be timely because digital transformation is all about speed and accelerating time to market – whether that’s about delivering instant answers to your business teams or real-time personalised customer experiences.”

At the same time, data integrity – having accurate data that is complete and includes enough data sources to build a full picture, but also enables you to know where all the data came from (data lineage) – is required to enable accurate decision making. (And on the data lineage side, the report throws up a lack of confidence on the part of workers on the sources of all data: Only 42 percent of IT managers were confident all source were known and just four percent of data workers felt confident.)

“It’s often assumed that speed is an IT issue, but it’s not always clear that the business is responsible for data integrity. And data integrity is becoming more difficult because the number of users who touch the data is increasing. This makes it harder and harder to track who, when, why and where data is touched.

“Data lineage is becoming more important in order to meet regulatory requirements and solve data quality issues at its source.”

The report offers up 10 ‘capabilities’ it says are needed to cope with the modern data challenges.

On the integrity side

  • Master data quality with trustworthy, complete and up-to-date data assets by discovering your data assets, understanding quality issues and then cleansing data as it enters the information chain.
  • Get control over all the organisations data and prevent shadow IT
  • Create a single source of trusted data and foster data ownership
  • Empower organisations with modern tools to manage and monitor data
  • Enforce regulatory compliance with good data, using a robust data governance program.

And on the speed side

  • Perform real-time data integration to meet real business needs, something the report says relies on an organisations willingness to invest in cloud-based modern systems that can capture data out of the traditional back office, batch-oriented systems and deliver it in real-time across the front office.
  • Make data accessible with instant access whenever it is needed
  • Enable access to and use of self-service applications
  • Perform faster root-cause analysis thanks to data lineage
  • Accelerate data delivery to third party applications and teams through APIs

“Organisations need to create a strategy for building trust and providing transparency, and they need to do this through data and the way it is managed.”

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