Destination data: a year in review

3 January 2019

Daniel Wilde

Daniel Wilde

Global Head of SAP CoE

The world of data accelerated exponentially last year, like the Millennium Falcon entering warp speed. To keep on top of the unrelenting pace of change in our industry, Head of SAP Centre of Excellence at Mindtree, Dan Wilde, reflects on what happened with data in 2018.

Data has long been seen as an asset to the business world with many organizations utilizing their data to create new revenue streams. In 2018, we started to see global businesses really start to experience the power of data. Take for example Trump’s presidential campaign or Brexit in the UK and the use of Cambridge Analytica. Such cases highlight the importance of the governance and security of data.

The introduction of the General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) in Europe has also changed the attitudes of businesses handling data. For these reasons I see a change in BI trends away from the focus on usability and tools in previous years towards the quality and the governance of data.

1) Data quality management

Compliance regulations and demands have been a driver for most data storage systems for many years. However, 2019 will see organizations driven harder to ensure the quality of the data they are storing and to ensure that the reporting is of the highest level. My view is that data is an asset and should be treated as such. Other business assets would not be neglected and so woefully looked after!

In addition, the drive towards an automated, data-driven organization will mean data will need to be of the highest quality to provide not only confidence but also to enable business leaders to make more accurate decisions.

2) Artificial intelligence and machine learning

According to Gartner, by 2022 at least 40 percent of new application development projects will have AI co-developers on their team.

Artificial Intelligence (AI) and Machine Learning (ML) has been at the forefront of many BI reports in recent years. Everything from Driverless cars to smart factories have been in the press recently and in 2019 I don’t see this trend moving away. I foresee AI moving from the corner of the office into a more prominent role within IT. The challenge many organizations will face in 2019-20 will be the business justification along with the Return On Investment (ROI) from AI. 

3) Predictive analytics

As many of my industry colleagues continue to remind me, data is not a valuable asset unless it provides something of value to a business. The need to reduce large volumes of stored data to produce insight for a business is a good way of describing predictive analytics. In the past 5 years we have seen an increase in organizations storing data from both internal and external data sources.

I believe that in 2019 we will see pressure from the business within those organizations to start showing real value from those data sets. Organizations that can use this data to model and forecast information at near real time will lead the way versus their competitors.

4) Security: ethics and privacy

2018 has been yet another year where we see large organizations such as Marriott get into trouble due to data breaches. In May, GDPR came into full force and organizations have become even more aware of the need to ensure that the data they store is safe and secure. Breaches to data holding Personally Identifiable Information (PII) can result in massive fines and even bring the end to any CEOs reign.

Ethics is going to become an important topic in 2019 and I believe may organizations will start to debate who will be accountable for data in transit. Let’s take the example of data being collected by cars (who is accountable for the security of this data?). I also believe we will start seeing many debates about the ethics of AI and whether an algorithm can be held accountable for its own outcomes or will it be the company responsible for developing it?

5) Data governance and trust

In summary of the 4 points above, data governance is the overall management of the availability, usability, integrity and security of data and underpins the other four items listed in this blog. Data governance is not a new topic and has been around for many years but it is being ignored by many organizations.

A good data governance program would include a governing body, a defined set of procedures and a plan to execute those procedures. As we move forward with the increased focus on data I predict that we will see governments set out their recommendations for organizations operating within their countries to have a documented and defined governance program for the data they store and use.

The year ahead...

2019 is the year companies will truly start to invest in data and as my points above highlight, companies can truly get value if they can turn this data into valuable insight. However, the combination of storing the right data along with managing security and governance means many companies will need to start thinking about this journey in a more structured way and will need to take a longer term view than they have to date.

Data has long been the fuel for what SAP calls ‘intelligent enterprises’. We at Mindtree are excited about the prospects of helping our customers see value from the insights derived from their data and bringing the Intelligent Enterprise to life. 


About the author

Daniel Wilde

Global Head of SAP CoE

Bluefin and SAP S/4HANA - welcome to the one horse race

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