Take control of your enterprise data with trusted decentralised technology
This July Gospel Technology alongside Infosum hosted an executive lunch in Central London bringing together expert analysts from IDC and industry leaders from various sectors to discuss the importance of trusted data. What is preventing companies from achieving a level of confidence in the data they use across their ecosystems? The results were a call for the enterprise to take advantage of the technology available to truly enable digital transformation or risk being left “digitally distraught”.
The lunch was attended by Duncan Brown, associate vice president, European Infrastructure and Security who leads IDC Europe’s research programs GRC, and Helena Schwenk, Research Manager for IDC’s European Big Data & Analytics practice.
Alongside key figures from the automotive, retail, and financial services industry, the discussions revolved around the importance of trusted data and how new decentralised technologies are emerging to resolve many of the critical data issues businesses face in 2018.
The majority of businesses are “digitally distraught”.
In a short keynote to spur discussion, Duncan Brown spent time addressing the three major challenges that face organisations today, of which data plays a key part:
- Digital transformation (DX)
- Keeping the business secure
- Regulatory upheaval
He pointed out that in a recent survey across Europe by IDC, Digital Transformation came out as a strategic priority for 100% of companies, a result he described as “unheard of” in a survey of that kind before. Duncan also shared that many organisations mistakenly viewed Digital Transformation initially as an IT function.
In fact, it is about transforming the entire business and its processes through technology enablement. Therefore, he pointed out, a large majority of companies (at least 75%) were still in the early stages of maturity, where silos of digital capability had been created that simply didn’t integrate with each other across the business or its partners. They were effectively stuck, a condition he’s described as “digitally distraught”.
The way we treat data becomes the lifeblood of any business
The second key challenge was in the area of keeping the organisation secure. When faced by today’s dynamic threat landscape, too many CIO’s had tried to protect the business by doubling down on stopping employees from accessing data or sharing it with partners, which of course they ignored and found insecure ways in which to circumvent the protocols. This data paradox is common across the industry, he said, where the more companies try to layer security over their data, the more they cannot effectively or efficiently use that data, and the more employees will be reckless in their demand to be able to access it.
Duncan Brown’s keynote warned of enabling employees to collaborate on data rather than attempting to prevent it
When it came to increased regulation this was deemed the third major area where enterprise especially was struggling. They had previously taken data for granted and now they simply could not ignore it. The responsibility was now firmly with them and they had to take it seriously or face consequences not only with the government but with customers who are rapidly realising their data rights.
So clearly, he stated, the way we treat data becomes the lifeblood of any business, when in fact many companies in today’s climate treat it as a liability. You cannot extract value from data if you lock it away or delete it.
Data is toxic only in the way that food can be toxic. We all need food in the way that we all need data. Look after it properly and you will stay healthy.
So even though the drive to become digitally transformed is there, most projects have stalled because they are simply unable to share data securely. As well as simply being the right thing to do, if businesses can crack this problem they will, of course, gain competitive advantage, whereas if they don’t there is a real existential threat to their existence.
So, in fact, there is a real imperative urgency to find new technologies that can help overcome this barrier and break down these data silos in a more seamless and less risky manner than is currently being used, he concluded.
So how can companies and their partners unlock the value held in their isolated datasets to improve their processes and insight, without risking the integrity of their data?
Using blockchain to provide security at the data layer
Ian Smith, CEO of Gospel Technology, described how his organisation is tackling the problem of untrusted or inaccessible data by using blockchain to secure it at the data layer itself.
Doing this allows businesses to effectively create a perimeter-less infrastructure between all parties in their ecosystem and instead use the consensus technology to control who or what has access to any specific data at any time, right down to the granular level of a single record. No-one party has full control over the information contained on the chain and needs permissions from the others in the network to consent to access or make any amends, all of which is recorded in the ledger.
He told the audience: “The area of trust in data should be the number one priority for enterprises today who wish to stay relevant as businesses look to use their data to create a competitive edge and complete their digital transformation. By delivering confidence and trust in the data they are controlling, Gospel not only removes risk from malicious or accidental breaches, but it drives enormous savings in terms of streamlining processes between parties and enabling efficient use of the data needed to keep organisations moving at pace.”
Ian Smith of Gospel Technology explains the advantages of private blockchain to create data trust
Sharing insights rather than the data
InfoSum’s CEO Nick Halstead discussed the slightly different approach to the solution they have developed that enables companies to gain insight from multiple isolated datasets without sharing the underlying raw data.
Aimed at the cross-department analysis of large sets of data rather than at the granular level of records that Gospel covers using blockchain, InfoSum’s decentralised approach can be utilised internally where data has become fragmented, as well as with external partners. This joined-up analysis enables businesses to better understand their customers, and therefore deliver more effective marketing campaigns.
“Using a decentralised customer data platform, businesses can combine intelligence held by departments, partners or other external organisations, to power effective people-based marketing”; he said.
Nick Halstead extolled his solution’s ability to create joined-up analysis out of fragmented datasets
A wake-up call for enterprise
Overall the lunch was an extremely insightful and positive experience for all, with general agreement that access to secure data is indeed the key to gaining competitive advantage and remaining relevant in the digital age. Building trust into that data in order to take advantage of it effectively must be a number one priority for enterprises worldwide, it was agreed, and utilising new technologies that can enable this was deemed an urgent priority.
Interestingly – it was further pointed out that by embracing new technologies (such as blockchain) to overcome the hurdles of transformation and trusted data, the best talent is attracted to enterprise and therefore the more likely a project to succeed.
If you would like to attend one of our future lunch events on trusted data, contact us here.
For a 90 second overview of the Gospel, enterprise blockchain click here.
For a full solution, overview click here.