Data and Governance Take Center Stage at Informatica Event

Data and privacy will play a central role as businesses continue to modernize and shift their focus to the digital sphere, speakers stressed at Informatic's 2021 Master Data Management 360 and Data Governance Summit yesterday.

The virtual event keyed on the need for companies to embrace digital transformation, while highlighting the need for data intelligence and cloud computing.

Jitesh Ghai, Infomatic’s chief product officer, urged attendees to move data from on-premises servers to the cloud.

“What we’re seeing now is true digital transformation. Not just moving things to the cloud and cancelling your leases for your data centers, but truly embracing the benefits of cloud-native resiliency, agility, and scaled business continuity,” Ghai stated.

Digital transformation had already been critical, but the COVID-19 pandemic expedited it, according to Ghai, who cited internal research that found that 80 percent of CEOs say the pandemic accelerated their move to transform and 75 percent are now actively operationalizing artificial intelligenceI to deliver on their initiatives. 

As companies move to the cloud, there will be "increasing amounts of fragmentation and heterogeneity," according to Ghai. He explains that the keys to realizing these transformations will be focusing on data, trust, and privacy. "As you modernize to the cloud, you ensure trust and privacy of sensitive information for your customers, for your employees, and for your partners."

Ghai used the event to introduce Informatica's Intelligent Data Management cloud. It's cloud-native at scale, supporting both multicloud and multi-hybrid architectures; it is powered by artificial intelligence; and it delivers low-code/no-code experiences to users. "It is on this set of key attributes that our innovation-designed principles are delivering market-leading capabilities," he said.

Ghai also highlighted his company's AI-powered metadata knowledge graph, CLAIRE. "It scans all of this data, applies AI and [machine learning], brings various forms of metadata together, and enriches all of this data by creating relationships and links," he said.

The AI tool allows customers to build data pipelines and curate their data sets.

But digital transformation cannot be done in one fell swoop. It is an iterative process with many steps. Malcom Hawker, a senior director analyst at Gartner underlined companies' quick shift to data management and its importance. "I'm seeing an urgency around MDM like I've never seen before. Over the last year, more people are searching for MDM-related topics on Gartner.com than machine learning."

Hawker stressed the importance of linking business outcomes with data impacts on those outcomes. "Not defining your business impacts of your data is like driving your car without a destination. You're putting miles on your car, but you can';t actually prove that you're getting anywhere."

Hawker also noted that governance today relies on flexibility and paying attention to context. "Modern MDM and governance programs supporting evolving digital businesses need to use adaptive data governance, as it enables the best combination of control of outcomes, agility, and user autonomy," he said.

This adaptive governance relies on a combination of human agility and automation, a hybrid approach that Hawker calls "augmented MDM."

Still, despite organizations' focus on digital transformation, only 24 percent of companies would rate their organizations as being data-driven, which is down 38 percent from the start of the pandemic, according to Informatica's general manager of data governance, David Corrigan.

Corrigan explained that the rush of digital transformation is a lack of centralized data storage. He said companies are creating too many silos and treating data poorly.

The best way to fix this problem, Corrigan said, is changing mindsets from a one-size-fits-all strategy..

"To reverse the flow from having a true consumption-centric approach to providing and governing/managing data... you really need data intelligence," he said.

Corrigan pitched Informatica's Intelligent Data Cloud as a way to solve the problem of disjointed data. "It has the ability to govern and catalog and understand and improve the quality of [the data] and to truly create data intelligence for your organization."

A big fear with digital transformation is that it will eliminate the need for human employees, something that Disney's former head of innovation and creativity, Duncan Wardle, said is unlikely.

Companies that innovate demonstrate four major qualities: creativity, intuition, curiosity, and imagination, according to Wardle, who noted that while automation might make many human jobs obsolete, these four qualities will still make humans employable in the future. AI cannot replicate these qualities, he said.

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