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Making abundance from scarcity: Insights from the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit

This week I was able to attend the Gartner Data and Analytics Summit in Dallas. For those of you who weren’t able to join this meeting of data professionals, I thought I would share a few of my key take-aways from the event.

In order for technologies to reach wide adoption, they need to be accessible and affordable. Right now, we are living in an era of data and analytic scarcity, although it certainly doesn’t seem like it. We have more data than we know what to do with. The challenge is that we don’t trust the data, it is too hard to access and we don’t have the resources to obtain the insights we need from data.

That concept was seen throughout the event in the sessions and in my conversations with many attendees. Everyone is struggling with data. They realize the potential and how much it can change the companies that we work for, but how do we make it abundant?

There are a few different ways to do that:

  1. Hire a CDO - Many organizations are hiring a Chief Data Officers. There were a lot of those newly hired CDOs at the event or ones that have been around for a few years now. Their goal is to champion data across the business and make it more accessible. The CDO and the office of the CDO are key talent around data that is needed to make that transition to leveraging data.
  2. Enable the business – Data is not for the few, it is for the many. The number of individuals who are coming from the business side of their organization and attending this conference for the first time was very interesting. Business users want to get their hands on the data, have data quality techniques, and gain their own insights. Today it is becoming about how you enable governance, security and insight by giving up some of the control on information from an IT perspective.
  3. Governance, governance, governance – there were a lot of well-attended sessions around data governance at the event. It is a challenge to implement governance rules through business buy-in rather than just trying to force standards across departments. Governance is an area where many companies still need some work around the people and technology.
  4. Buy the right technology – there are many different technology solutions for data management, many of which were featured at the summit. However, before buying a tool, it is important that individuals understand the business need and how the technology and full program can help them achieve that outcome. In my session ‘In data we trust? If only that were true’, we discussed how individuals need to make sure they understand the core business need in order to get executive buy-in for new investment.

As always, it was great to hear about new techniques, affirm existing practices and meet many new professionals. We all have a lot of work to do to make data an abundant resource, but I think through the sharing of best practices and success stories, we can make some good progress in the year ahead.  

During the event, I did have the pleasure of speaking about building trust in data. If you are interested in seeing the data behind those findings, download our Global data management benchmark report