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Data sharing is a central element of the digital transformation companies have experienced over the past several years. According to Chief Data Officers (CDOs), companies’ ability to build a resilient, privacy-centric and shareable data architecture directly impacts their growth potential. 

Trends and predictions from a Gartner survey of CDOs estimate that by 2023, organizations that promote data sharing will outperform their peers on most business value metrics. Yet, at the same time, Gartner predicts that through 2022, less than 5% of data-sharing programs will correctly identify trusted data and locate trusted data sources. 

A resilient data architecture is difficult to build. From a privacy perspective, signal loss is a top challenge in building a successful system. Breaking down data silos and merging an abundance of data into one universal snapshot of owned data has made processing and activating data equally challenging. 

Data sharing among teams is central to successful digital acceleration and there are three main ways businesses can take steps toward building a more resilient data architecture:

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1.) Focus on your team 

The sturdiness of any building or bridge is reliant on the team of architects and planners involved in building it. The same principle holds true in the data architecture realm. As businesses build and refine their data architecture, look closely at how engineers, data scientists, legal and privacy experts and project managers are equipped for the job. 

Ensure teams have the proper training and certifications to overcome knowledge gaps, especially in the privacy sphere. Ask for team members to get certified by a large professional organization such as the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). These organizations offer courses and certification for a diversity of roles, so each team member can learn about data privacy requirements in a way that is specific to their job. This can clear up misunderstandings while investing in privacy knowledge across the board. 

After investing in training, encourage collaboration among all data team experts and ensure projects are given enough time to foster collaboration. Siloed teams do not work together efficiently. Sometimes, teams that are rushed to bring something to market in a non-compliant way can result in a full rebuild effort that costs even more time, effort and money to fix.

Teams need time to understand a regulatory space, structure the data architecture to fit rules and privacy implications and work together to build a more resilient system. Teams that work together and have strong relationships internally more often bridge knowledge gaps and create architecture that better serves the end user.

This collaboration may even lead to the creation of hybrid roles where team members share privacy as a secondary expertise. Many organizations have privacy experts working within data teams, but consider how data-informed roles like sales or marketing could benefit from better-shared privacy knowledge. Adapt the team structures to introduce more hybridized data and privacy roles to break down the silos that make data architecture ineffective.

Just as data should not be a siloed asset, privacy should not be a siloed responsibility. Organizations are evolving to respond to this shift.

2.) Make compliance your first mission

Compliance should be integrated into any new project from the start, so it is crucial to align with this team at the very beginning of any project. With a collaborative, trained team, each member’s first step should be to dedicate time toward understanding privacy considerations and possible risk areas to be able to build a structure that is compliant. 

It costs extra time and effort to do this step first, but it ensures the project will be built right the first time. Trial and error is not the best approach for privacy-centric challenges in data architecture. Fixing non-compliant structures retroactively ends up costing more money and time in the long term.

3.) Work from a single source of truth 

As the governance, risk and compliance landscape has become exponentially more complex in the past decade, companies have slowly realized they can no longer rely on one system or architecture for orchestrating data. Global organizations are required to comply with many regulations (GDPR, CCPA, IPPA and more) and the nuances between these ever-changing requirements are too complex for one static system. These organizations receive data from many sources and then do the work of obtaining, storing and analyzing the data across parallel data warehouses. Multiple inputs and outputs muddle compliance and privacy goals.

To assure greater resilience, companies need to create and enforce one basic logic for storing and safeguarding data – a single source of privacy data certifying that user privacy is intact. Resilient architecture has the power to show that whatever happens with data, user privacy is respected within every system. 

Big data is losing its grip on architecture, making way for a privacy-centric approach. An organization may be facing challenges amid this paradigm shift towards tighter compliance. Tightening the structure internally within a team and externally with unified data channels to bolster resilience and fight the challenges all companies are looking to solve in their data architecture. 

Julian Llorente is the director of product and data privacy at Tealium.

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