At a time of great change and progress, technology and data analytics have really grown strong in recent years.  If data played a prominent role within organisations in 2017, its importance will now be reinforced even more as companies move from generating information to optimising it, and data becomes their driving force.

Therefore, throughout 2018, a series of technologies, roles and approaches will become more relevant for the value they provide, in addition to boosting the data strategies of the companies that incorporate them.

Data science

Data science is a field that includes scientific methods, processes and systems for obtaining not only knowledge, but also a better understanding of information in its different forms. It seeks to find patterns to turn them into useful and valuable information that improves decision-making.

According to Jim Hare, Vice President of research for technology consultancy Gartner, much of the innovation driving digital disruption originates in data science. Therefore, technology managers need to align information management and business strategies together, so that all the units involved work in an integrated way.

New data protection regulations

In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) will become a reality and, as organisations advance their compliance, new challenges and opportunities will arise as data models and strategies are reviewed.

At this point, linking data governance to compliance with the new GDPR becomes necessary.  With proper data governance, organisations can monitor critical policies and procedures to ensure that the company as a whole complies with the relevant legislative framework. Data protection will therefore become an increasingly important competitive factor.

Roles on the rise: CDO and DPO

According to Gartner, the Chief Data Officer (CDO) is a professional who, 90% of large organisations will add to their ranks in 2019. This is a multi-disciplinary technological role that has overall responsibility for data management, transforming large volumes of information into predictive and prescriptive models that facilitate business performance. A CDO should also address data governance with a coherent and comprehensive approach.

The DPO originates from the GDPR itself, which stipulates the appointment of a Data Protection Officer. Indeed, the scope of this role will also have a great impact on the use of data and the generation of business value. In addition to being a facilitator, the DPO’s mission is data protection and risk mitigation, with a special focus on compliance.

Data Quality as a competitive advantage

Today we hear a lot about the large amount of data that is available, which is both a challenge and an opportunity for companies. The key is not only to determine which new data should be used and which data should be ignored, but also to periodically review the data sets to check their accuracy and value.

During 2018, most companies will allocate resources to Data Quality projects. Although this will initially apply to technological equipment, business units will link Data Quality metrics to other areas interested in improving their databases and optimising their results.

New generation of Data Quality tools

Flexible and integrated solutions to manage Data Quality, as well as governance and integration analysis tools are essential to leverage information and exploit knowledge about customers and markets.

Automatic learning techniques used to identify relationships between datasets and suggest linkages will therefore continue in 2018, in addition to the detection and correction of errors and the standardisation of information.   Algorithms will continue to enrich data quality tools, making predictive analysis and management of large volumes of data increasingly effective.

The evidence is clear: the data boom continues unabated. With the increased ability to collect, store and analyse information and, as a result, leverage their knowledge, companies should foster a culture based on quality data as a continual investment in the creation of value as a strategic asset. Only then will they be able to secure their place in 2018 and build a solid future for the coming years.

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