Covid-19 taught us many things – patience, resilience, perseverance. It pushed Technology and science to the extreme to innovate and teach us to fight back against all the odds.
The most priceless and critical thing during Covid appears to be the “Data”. Health organizations, research labs, Travel & Hospitality, educational institutes, frontline agencies, different types of enterprises all are trying to find the trusted data which can help them take crucial decisions during this pandemic.
Did we miss the Trusted data during this pandemic?
Data everywhere in its raw form can’t be trusted. We have seen how mistrusted, unreliable and incomplete information created massive chaos throughout the pandemic. Most organizations are facing a lot of challenges to rapidly adopt changes in their tools, systems, and processes, to provide better-trusted data which is key to business insights and critical for taking conscious business decisions. During the initial months of the pandemic, almost all the governments around the globe found it difficult to bring down the community spread of COVID-19, which had a long-term adverse impact on human lives. The number of testing kits, availability of authentic masks, protective life-saving medicines, etc. were not adequate – all due to a lack of trusted, good quality data.
Lack of authentic COVID data collection mechanisms
False or fake news on social Media around COVID cases created a huge panic buying of essentials in all different countries
Governments and health agencies didn’t have pre-recorded well-managed data around vulnerable people, people with higher age groups, or individuals with health issues
Lack of business continuity planning, risk analysis & forecasting model around health, banking/finance, educational organizations and insurance sectors predominantly
Delay in sharing the research-oriented data across the countries and lack of well-governed fast-tracked vaccine trial process and delayed manufacturing process
National and International politics contributed to publicizing many incorrect numbers of affected individuals
Relevance of Enterprise Data Functions in the Coronavirus era
Data-driven decision-making by governments, health agencies, and other enterprises had been impacted during the COVID-19 pandemic. The root cause indicates a lack of data readiness by everyone concerned. During the initial phases of the pandemic, different countries could not take all necessary precautions, protections due to the unavailability of trusted data – international borders were not closed on time, lockdowns were delayed in many countries, Lack of awareness around safety measures, etc.
✔Data Ingestion or collection mechanism – Collect the information on time (real-time data is important) which are relevant for your business. The source of the data can be different, but there should be a proper data collection mechanism to scan and retrieve the data which can be trusted. Example – Governments got immensely benefited by collecting COVID data like – Genetic mutations of the Coronavirus, virology-oriented data, Impact on lungs, etc. from different Research Institutes – Institute of Health Research, University of Oxford, University of Stanford, University of Glasgow and few more.
✔ Defined Data Governance Process – Data can only create the right impact when people trust the data. People can only trust the data if it’s being owned, controlled, managed by authentic, trustworthy people (ownership matters), and a transparent process to showcase the data governance journey. For example, the Covid test results regulated by the NHS(UK) are the most authentic data for covid impact analysis.
✔ Data Privacy, Security & Compliance – Sensitive Data especially PII or Personal Identification Information must be handled with the right privacy and security principles. The data must adhere to international domain-specific and country-specific privacy regulations such as – GDPR, CCPA, POPI, LGPD, etc. HIPAA, privacy and security rules around the Health sector and Credit Card Industry data security standards such as PCI-DSS.
✔ Data Quality – It’s important to maintain the sanity of the data which is procured from disparate channels. Measures must be taken to know the current quality of the data and implement a process to do regular data cleansing and enrichment. Only good quality data can provide actionable business insights.
✔ Data Visualization and Business Intelligence – Usually Data is stored in a complex structure. Implement a process to have easy and simple visualization of complex underlying data. Various tools and technologies can be adopted to create a simplified view that can give business insights.
Data Governance to make enterprises ready to face future Pandemic situations
According to the “DAMA DMBoK Wheel” shown above, Data Governance provides the foundation for all other data management disciplines. This is the main reason Data Governance is at the center of the “DAMA DMBoK Wheel”. A data governance framework is a set of data rules and organizational roles that mean that the people and the processes which bring everyone in the organization, get on the same page. Data Governance Frameworks are normally evolved around 5 core questions – Why, What, When, How, Who and their answers are hidden behind People, Process, and Rules. When an organization has concrete answers to these 5 core questions, they become Data Ready.
PDG framework focus:
Data is important for everyone on this earth. But not everyone understands the sensitivity and impact of this data. Hence, this must be governed and managed by the right people through processes and rules, regulations & technology.
1. Who can own and share the data?
Ownership of Data is important. Every enterprise must appoint a trustworthy data owner for their respective domain.
In the era of social media and news channels, a lot of mistrusted information goes viral and makes a negative impact on society, creating chaos, especially during a pandemic. International & National Information Media Regulatory boards should be formed, and strong regulations must be implemented to ensure that the data generated by media and other enterprises must be authentic.
Every enterprise must act responsibly with the usage and sharing of data during pandemic-type situations.
Health organizations play a critical role during a pandemic. Trained health workers, front-line workers, and doctors should be given enough attention and correct data to prepare adaptive plans to handle a pandemic.
Governments must enforce strong regulations around the pharmaceutical sector to restrict medicine, medical instruments, or equipment fraud. Transparent medical & pharmaceutical processes can save a lot of lives
As government agencies, private sectors around banking finance, telecom, hospitality, media must act responsibly to spread only the trusted information.
2. What data can be shared and to be given priority – Various sources generate a variety of data formats during the pandemic & post-pandemic phases.
Every source of data can’t be trusted. Quality, authenticity, and reliability checking framework must be applied before it can be shared. Classification of data is crucial – sensitive data (PII), analytical data and transactional data have different sensitivity and privacy levels. There must be a defined mechanism to determine what can be shared 90 This will bring trust to the data and better decision making can be possible during a critical time.
3. Why is a PDG important? There must be some motivation behind implementing a Pandemic DG framework. This framework will create data ownership, processes to regulate and govern the data, and technology to drive the whole data journey.
4. When this pandemic-related data is published – Along with who can and what can be published, it’s important to keep the data accessible and available on time. Critical data like the count of infected individuals in a specific city, number of available medical critical care beds, number of nearby medical or paramedical facilities, etc. can be lifesaving information, but only if the information is published on time. Likewise, other enterprises need to prioritize having the data available ready in real-time.
5. How to impose regulatory and compliance processes
From ingestion or procurement of the data from all different sources (internal/external) to creating the insight through data visualization must go through a regulatory process that will have a quality check, cleansing, enrichment, standardization, data stewardship, master data generation, legal compliances, etc. With appropriate technology implementation compliances and quality must be achieved, this will ensure effective engagement of the people (who) and technology to create actionable insights. Data generated during a pandemic must be maintained and governed through a baseline regulatory process so that Government and other enterprises can learn from the Insight and take appropriate action on time.
PDG can only become successful when each and everyone of us also can partially or fully be aware of this process and be part of it, alongside the government and other private enterprises. At an individual level, we should –
Act responsibly to help governments control the pandemic situation
Follow the health and safety measures outlines by health organizations
Avoid public gathering during a pandemic
Avoid spreading rumors and creating panic especially on social media
Share only trusted information to help others
Consume resources like medicine, food, etc. up to a certain limit during a pandemic
If we will have to face a similar pandemic in the future, enterprises must be prepared and Data ready. They can be data ready only if they follow the proper data governance process by establishing trust, ownership, and transparency through people, process, and technology. Many organizations have already started the journey of Data readiness, now it’s time for the rest of the steps to fall into place.