Data isn’t the new anything. For years, writers covering the topic have struggled to find the right analogy, calling it the new oil, the new currency, and most recently, the new water — but data isn’t a commodity in any traditional sense. Defying conventional labels, it can be both ubiquitous and rare, nonspecific and personal, trivial and valuable. It’s probably more accurate to say that data is a tool —something that aids in the accomplishment of specific tasks — and today it happens to be the most important tool at our disposal.
Tools produce different results when placed in different hands. Today’s leaders must source the right skills to wield data safely and effectively to achieve their goals. Luckily, new technologies can provide a safe haven to connect data and collaborate with partners to find new revenue streams, develop customer insights, and optimize and expand relationships.
There are many ways to start down the path to data collaboration, as outlined in the recent paper from the Winterberry Group, Collaborative Data Solutions: The Evolution of Identity in a Privacy-First, Post-Cookie World. When approached correctly, data collaboration can be a long-term strategy that not only drives tremendous upside, but becomes a critical component and core to your overall data strategy, even your corporate strategy. To make an informed investment that sets you up for successful growth and minimizes disruption as you scale your initiatives, every leader should ask themselves three questions when evaluating data collaboration environments.
Will you be able to control and limit the use of your data on demand?
With changing regulation and policies along with increased awareness on data collection and usage, the focus on consent and preferences fundamentally changes how companies access and use data, and makes privacy-conscious data collaboration essential to a sophisticated and modern data strategy. Without proper permission systems to completely control how data is used, you may not only be limiting scale, but also the trust required to have a robust ecosystem of collaborative partners.
If key regulations aren’t taken into consideration, the wrong solution could also shrink your geographic impact. For example, global organizations need a GDPR-compliant environment to maximize investment by applying it to other regions, now or in the future.
Will you be able to consistently and accurately translate between identity spaces?
Like translating languages, translating identifiers is more nuanced than it may appear. When leveraging different kinds of data sets, especially with the objective of connecting the customer journey, inaccuracy can distort your perspective and cost you the precision you need.
A seamless customer experience depends on a reliable source of truth. Having a privacy-centric platform that can effectively look across touchpoints and translate data sets accurately will build confidence in your decisions and allow you to act more quickly.
Will you be able to provide your analytics teams with the modern tools they require?
Data science grows more sophisticated by the day. Make sure your team has access to flexible and configurable technology so they can apply machine learning and perform more sophisticated data exploration. The combination of analytics capabilities and ready access to data can drive strong improvement to your measurement and attribution models, optimize your path-to-purchase and supply chain, accelerate gains and shorten your investment's payback period.
The most successful businesses on the planet have captured significant market share by networking their sphere of influence through data collaboration, within their own enterprises and extending their own community across brands, neighborhoods, and consumers. The right technology can help any enterprise replicate a proven playbook to create networks and provide access to net-new revenue-generating opportunities.
This is particularly important for traditionally industries such as consumer goods and auto manufactures, publishers, and others who may not have broad access to data or have the permissions to use it, but have natural partners that do. To thrive at a time when expectations of personalized service and relevance are high, these groups need to collaborate with retailers, with dealerships, and with each other.
Data may not be the new anything, but secure and permission-based data collaboration is the next major driver of innovation in the modern economy. Selecting the right environment can be confusing, and a bad decision can cost not only time and money, but seriously narrow your opportunity to get ahead in a fast-moving market. Ultimately, collaboration must happen on your own terms and the terms of your partners. By starting with these three questions, business leaders open to exploring these new capabilities can do so safely and effectively, and gain the flexibility and control to develop their own paths to success.
Vihan Sharma, managing director, Europe , LiveRamp
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