The importance of data-sharing

by | Oct 4, 2021

The importance of data-sharing

by | Oct 4, 2021 | Blog

The importance of data-sharing
Data has become a critical asset to the success of any organisation in today’s digital landscape. But having
it is one thing. Extracting relevant insights is something else entirely. To this end, data-sharing has emerged
as a key enabler to unlock business value.
Data‐sharing is described as the practice of making research data available to other investigators or
institutions for the purposes of social scientific research. Data‐sharing can occur through informal data
exchange among researchers, and formal data exchange through data archives and repositories.
Evolving role
The concept of data-sharing originated on the research side at universities and other institutions of higher
learning where academics made their data available to one another. Meanwhile, businesses struggled with
implementing data-sharing practices for years thanks in no small part to how they have traditionally
managed their data.
Data was often departmentalised and restricted within organisational silos. The emphasis was on protecting
and not sharing data within the business. Each department owned its own data. For instance, human
resources oversaw salaries and marketing was responsible for customer data. Of course, there were (and
still are) security considerations at play to frame this culture of data ownership.
However, even within legal parameters and the emergence of things like the Protection of Personal
Information Act (POPIA) and the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), there is potential to embrace
data-sharing practices. This has become even more important with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Now, data-sharing is a global necessity. Collaboration between countries has happened at a rate and scale
never seen before as the world unifies in combating this virus.
Growing effectiveness
Research shows that organisations have realised the importance of creating synergies between building a
data-driven business and leading digital transformation. In that regard, data-sharing has resulted in data
and analytics teams becoming more effective and showing demonstrable, verifiable value to stakeholders.
In this regard, those businesses that promote and succeed in embracing data-sharing will outperform their
competitors on most value metrics.
LinkedIn blog: Andreas Bartsch
Change management
To do so requires a shift in approach that sees the business looking to share data wherever it can do so,
however within the confines of regulatory restrictions. Part of this entails establishing trust-based
mechanisms. Whether it is inter-department or sharing data with key external partners, the organisation
must ensure the required confidentiality agreements, governance, and legal frameworks are in place.
From there, the data-sharing environment must be prepared. Considerations here include going with the
cloud-based route to enable easier sharing of volume data, implementing security, and taking the
opportunity to best utilise the various data layers such as an enterprise data lake, enterprise data
warehouse, and others.
Just as with many data type projects, the company must prioritise use cases for data-sharing. These can
be categorised according to how easy they are to implement, and the value add they can bring to the
organisation. Of course, if data-sharing is to be effective, training employees on the processes to follow and
improving their level of data literacy must be prioritised.
Linking data-sharing to business key performance indicators is instrumental to measure the success of this
approach. This can encompass the customer experience, cost optimisation, revenue, generation, and even
compliance.
Throughout this, the emphasis must be on sharing the right data with the right stakeholders. Data is a
powerful asset that can rapidly transform the operating environment not just at a business level, but an
industry one.

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