Trending Towards a Data-Fueled Future: February 2023’s Key Stories

Data-driven leaders often push boundaries to steer their organizations towards more insight-driven, impactful futures. But with changing business landscapes, uncertain economic swings, and evolving data laws and regulations, it’s increasingly common to feel uncertain about which direction to take.

Our most recent Immuta Unlocked Newsletter highlights what data-driven professionals and leaders are focused on when it comes to data’s continued trend toward business-driving success. By digging into themes that carry across industries and levels of data maturity, any organization can be prepared to pursue secure modern data practices.

Here is a roundup of the the key data stories we followed in February:

Investments in Technology Remain a Key Objective

Article: Beyond Silicon Valley, Spending on Technology Is Resilient (The New York Times)

Forecasts of an economic downturn have cast a cloud over much of the tech industry. As enterprises look to consolidate and tighten budgets, there is an assumption that spending on technology and software will slow. This mindset, however, does not appear to be taking hold as much as some might think.

As technologies like cloud computing, artificial intelligence, machine learning, analytics, and data security have become more popular in recent years, they’ve entrenched themselves into the business practices of organizations in virtually every industry. In fact, the global market for software in 2022 reached $567 billion, 37% more than what businesses spent on industrial equipment and factories. While there may be relative declines from the highs of tech and software spending in recent years, analysts from Gartner and IDC still believe that these investments are recession-proof and resilient.

How Organizations Can Reinvigorate Their Data Use

Article: Has Progress on Data, Analytics, and AI Stalled at Your Company? (Harvard Business Review)

As we’ve seen, the focus on developing and investing in technology is not a new phenomenon for data-driven organizations. For years, leadership teams have recognized the potential value and knowledge data can provide for their business objectives. But as the landscape of tools and platforms becomes increasingly diversified and complex, it appears that fewer businesses are driving measurable results with their data.

In one 2023 survey, 87.8% of executive respondents claimed that their companies were increasing investments in data. Once asked more pointed questions about their data use, however, it appeared that their investments weren’t necessarily yielding the most effective results. Only 59.5% claimed that their company is actually driving business innovation with data, and just 23.9% said that they’d consider their company a “data-driven organization.” Investing in the right tools can be a start, but teams also need to make sure that they are enabling and inspiring their data users to make use of their resources. In doing so, teams will see a decidedly positive impact on their larger business goals.

The Continued Drive to Streamline Public Health Data

Article: The push to streamline national public health data began long before Covid-19 (CNN)

The Covid-19 pandemic emphasized the need for widespread improvements in data access and secure data sharing across the United States’ healthcare systems. As the disease spread around the world, data was key to tracking those infected, exposed, and eventually vaccinated against the virus. But many of the systems used to facilitate this tracking and sharing were disjointed, outdated, and not at the scale necessary to be totally effective.

The need to improve and streamline healthcare data security and sharing capabilities did not in itself arise as a result of the pandemic. In 2006, the U.S. passed the Pandemic and All-Hazards Preparedness Act to require public officials to establish a better system for monitoring and communicating emerging health threats. Since then, the law has been updated and reauthorized twice (in 2013 and 2019), but still no concrete action has been taken to follow through. With the spotlight still shining on outdated healthcare systems, there is no better time to organize and implement streamlined practices for sharing and monitoring secure public health data.

The Effects of Artificial Intelligence on Data Privacy

Article: ChatGPT’s Data-Scraping Model Under Scrutiny From Privacy Experts (InfoSecurity Magazine)

Artificial intelligence (AI) is not a new phenomenon in the world of data. AI tools are often used to facilitate the analysis of data sets, identify certain data types, and  streamline aspects of modern data use. But as they are developed for new purposes, these tools should not be adopted without first considering their effects on both data privacy and security.

Take the meteoric popularity of OpenAI’s chatbot ChatGPT. This tool can be used for a myriad of purposes, taking user prompts and creating content like emails, reports, fictional television scripts, and more. While the power and social intrigue of ChatGPTl is undeniable, many data privacy experts are skeptical about the legal and ethical ramifications of its operation. The creators have yet to fully disclose how the tool gathers information from the internet, but many believe it to be done through a form of scraping. This means that data is gathered from countless touch points across the entire internet, many of which are likely not consenting to sharing this data for fair use. In addition, ChatGPT raises concerns about compliance with privacy regulations, which often strictly limit the collection and use of data. While there’s much to still be uncovered about ChatGPT’s foundations and operations, it would be prudent to use the tool cautiously to avoid compromising sensitive or private data (just ask OpenAI investor Microsoft).

Keeping Up with Key Stories

Touching on a number of modern trends and practices, February’s Key Stories demonstrate what forward-looking developments are to come in secure data use.

To stay up-to-date on the latest in data security and beyond, subscribe to the Immuta Unlocked Newsletter today. Each month, we include Key Stories in the newsletter to provide you with access to the latest news in data.

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