Impacting the world economy with stark implications, the COVID-19 crisis has put business resilience to the test.  CIOs of businesses across industries are on fire-fighting mode, steering crisis management teams, and prioritizing digital transformation initiatives to ensure business continuity, flexibility, and security.

During these testing times, CIOs need reliable master data to weigh long-term and short-term perspectives and decide on effective coping measures such as cost reduction, digital enablement, cloud migration, and agile adoption.  Clean, consistent MDM master data management is critical to resolving myriad issues such as improving customer experience, simplifying internal processes, ensuring the adoption of new tools and protocols, de-risking remote access, and providing proactive cybersecurity. CIOs rely on efficient MDM tools to access and assess enterprise data and make viable and profitable decisions for their business and stakeholders.

Here are some insights into how CIOs can resolve data challenges.

1. Data Consistency

Challenge: Maintaining and updating data manually in multiple systems and platforms, with different owners will only lead to data inconsistencies. When master data is full of discrepancies and deviations, it impacts the decision-making process at an enterprise-level, thus creating redundancies and unfocused strategies.

Resolution: Businesses should maintain a Golden Record, a single complete master record of harmonized data values procured from designated authoritative systems. The data must be matched with relevant source records to eliminate duplications and ensure consistency. It also must be updated centrally by a single owner so that it stays put, with consistent validation processes, for future reusability.

2. Data Security

Challenge: Data is a valuable yet vulnerable asset not only for businesses but also for customers, governments, partners, and third parties.  With cyber threats scaling new heights of sophistication, securing the data is one of the most crucial challenges CIOs face today. Regardless of where the data is stored, the risk, frequency, and severity of data crimes like ransomware, phishing, Internet of Things (IoT) attacks, and massive data breaches have drastically increased over the years.

Resolution: CIOs need to establish and implement robust data security policies understanding the multidimensional aspects of the dynamic data security landscape. Being vigilant and expecting the unexpected, businesses must adopt proactive data governance practices by keeping the system vulnerabilities in mind. Being proactive about implementing security measures like firewalling, authentication-led workflows, extensive validation layers is how you maximize the level of protection you can offer to your data.

3. Data Fidelity

Challenge: Data that is lost, corrupted, or misplaced will lead to faulty assumptions and strategies, thus negatively impacting the business. When concerns about data compromise arise, CIOs cannot function effectively as they cannot trust their own data.

Resolution: To counter data fidelity issues, CIOs need to ensure sufficient backup systems in conjunction with strong security policies. Storing multiple copies of critical data along with strict user access for data modification and deletion will help preserve data without compromise.

4. Data Accessibility

Challenge: In today’s dynamic business scenario, equal data access cannot be provided to all stakeholders.  There must be different levels of access control for different user profiles. The CIOs face security concerns as users are not the only ones with access to sensitive information. There are APIs, applications, and integrations that can gain access to critical customer and business data.

Resolution:  CIOs need to establish well-defined access points, monitoring and documenting the interaction of users, applications, APIs, and integrations in detail. This way, CIOs can measure the criticality of the access control of different system entities to determine if they compromise data security.

5. Data Integrity

Challenge: As data becomes diverse, abundant, and significant to businesses, maintaining its physical and logical integrity is an essential challenge to every CIO.

Resolution: It is the CIO’s responsibility to test data integrity across the enterprise continuously. Data compliance needs to be ensured across industry bodies and regulators so that the business stays within the legal limitations. Non-compliance with regulations will lead to heavy penalties, damaging business reputation.

With massive amounts of information spread across spreadsheets, platforms, and departments, CIOs face many challenges in harmonizing and utilizing the information. Resolving these challenges is vital to gain control of data for effective strategizing and implementation.

It can help CIOs accelerate intelligent data-driven disruption and digital transformation. But let not the CIOs forget – more significant the challenge, greater will be the opportunity!

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