• Follow us

Internet

Why letting data go matters to customers and companies

We hear a lot of talk about how, why and when organisations collect data from individuals. Rightly so. There are laws to comply with, and good practice to implement. No company, surely, wants to be put through the wringer for failing on either ground.

But what about when customers leave an organisation, or when a product or service is discontinued? Customers, products and services all generate and consume data, and one would hope that organisations hoping to be ‘data-enabled’ or ‘data-driven’ ensure this data is well maintained while it is useful to the company, and personal data particularly, is managed in line with the requirements of the law.  Well maintained data has the best chance of maximising its intrinsic value and conversely, it is less able to deliver those insights in direct proportion to how poorly maintained it is.

Both onboarding new data and managing it well while it is in use are topics which receive a lot of attention.  However, we hear much less about the third and final stage of the data lifecycle – offboarding. 

Customers aren’t loyal, they leave. Products and services aren’t sold forever. When these things happen, what is done with data that relates to them? In his book “Ends. Why we overlook endings for humans, products, services and digital. And why we shouldn’t” Joe McLeod confronts the challenge of designing for the “end of life experience”, and we can apply his thoughts to data.

The problem with data hoarding

Evaluating data’s uniqueness, quality, usage and risk of loss is important in understanding whether data should be offboarded. Metrics might tell you how often particular data has been used, however that is generally only part of the story – and perhaps not the most important part. A piece of data could be used only very infrequently, but provide valuable insights that aren’t available through other routes. Weighing up ‘frequency of use’ with ‘value when used’ is something to be done on a business by business basis, and it is something well worth spending some time and effort on. 

What often follows from the notion that a single piece of data might be infrequently used but of great value, is referred to by Caroline Carruthers and Peter Jackson in their book “The Chief Data Officer’s Playbook” as ‘data hoarding’ – the retention of data just in case it might be useful some time.  But in fact, data hoarding can be the manifestation of a lack of strategy and understanding. It can be a sign that a firm has no data strategy or vision beyond acquisition, that it doesn’t understand its data enough to be able to identify what is – or what might be – useful, and that, in the worst cases, it doesn’t even understand what business it is in.

Even if we ignore regulatory considerations (which, of course, we can’t), there is a solid business case to actively consider whether or not to retain data, and when and how to offboard it. Just to put a real-world value onto this idea, it is worth noting that IBM has calculated that poor quality data costs the US economy $3.1 trillion a year.

The way to redress the balance between data hoarding and retaining data that really does have potential to be useful is to address a few straightforward questions: What product or service does the data support? Does the data support ongoing or ended relationships? If the data doesn’t support a product, service or current relationship, what business purpose or objective is served by keeping it and do we have permission to keep it?

Closure is an opportunity

There might seem to be a paradox in saying that offboarding data creates an opportunity. But in the glass half full world of business, that’s exactly what it is. When a customer leaves a company, opportunities are created. In “Ends”, MacLeod promotes the case that closure creates an opportunity. DAMA’s DM-BOK cursorily mentions data can be purged when it is no longer useful, however understanding the full lifecycle of that data will clarify what “useful” means.  In the case of customers, an organisation can ask the customer for their reasons for leaving and use that data to help formulate customer retention policies. And it can wish the departing customer well, looking forward to a time when, perhaps, the customer will again need the kind of services it offers, and be minded, because of a positive departure experience (and good service throughout, of course), to return.

The same approach can be applied if a company discontinues a product or service. If that’s been provided by a contractor, then the contractor equivalent of an ‘exit interview’ can deliver genuinely helpful insights, and generate data it’s beneficial to retain for future use. In addition, the data relating to the product or service itself can be archived (where it can be analysed for future planning exercises, but won’t impinge on the utility of data about live services), or it can be deleted depending on company policy and legal requirements.

There are, of course, exceptional cases like blockchain which requires the indefinite retention of data in its datastore (a distributed ledger), for the purposes of integrity, transparency and decentralisation.

Begin with the end in mind

The second of Stephen R Covey’s 7 Habit of Highly Effective People is to begin with the end in mind, and “Ends” gives us an approach to do just that. In the context of letting go of data, this means understanding that offboarding is a legitimate and important part of data’s lifecycle. To get this understanding, organisations need to develop a framework that will allow them to see what good data looks like so they can determine when its utility is ending.

In the case of blockchains, thinking about ends becomes critical in considering what is needed to balance the integrity, transparency and decentralisation requirements of any blockchain solution and understanding what data should be kept or discarded. 

Taking into consideration the offboarding and end-of-life experience of customers, products and services has profound impacts on data and data management. Being mindful of those endings will translate into a clear data strategy that is aware data has a limited useful life, and understanding that there will come a point when the data needs to be let go should get any firm on the right road to understanding how to manage data offboarding. The result will be less data for sure. But that data will be better quality, and will provide more useful insights.

Markus Buhmann, Data Management and Architecture Leader, JDXImage Credit: Flickr / janneke staaks

Read More



Leave A Comment

More News

Latest ITProPortal news

What is digital transformation? Everything you need to 2019-06-17 11:09:01Digital transformation - what’s new 17/06 - FEATURE - JR Rivers/Cumulus Networks - Preparing your network for digital transformation - A one siz

The best antivirus software of 2019 2019-06-17 08:00:00Our top security software choices to help keep your computer safe

The best VPN service 2019 2019-06-17 07:48:37A virtual private network helps you stay safe while online - here's our top choices.

London tech jobs soar in 2019 2019-06-17 07:30:18You can't go hungry in the UK's tech industry.

NHS trusts still reliant on pen and paper 2019-06-17 07:00:41However major AI push is on the horizon, report claims.

Preparing your network for digital transformation 2019-06-17 07:00:35A one size fits all approach to networking doesn’t work anymore. The top networking challenge is improving agility.

DataOps - Embracing the integration process 2019-06-17 06:30:48Three steps to getting started with your DataOps journey.

Nvidia and ARM to team up on supercomputers 2019-06-17 06:30:38More open and powerful supercomputers coming soon.

5G: Bursting the bubble 2019-06-17 06:00:03While the clamour for 5G reaches fever pitch, is it really all it’s cracked up to be?

Huawei expects major drop in sales following US 2019-06-17 06:00:01CEO says shipments could fall between 40 and 60 per cent.

Five tips to enhance employee goodwill 2019-06-17 05:30:58Losing employee goodwill translates to a gradual decline in company image, which is never good news.

Damaged customer relationships – the real cost of 2019-06-17 05:00:18Packaging is the first tactile experience an eCommerce customer has with a brand so getting this right is vital for encouraging repeat purchases.

TechRadar: Internet news

Heads up, Mac gamers: big-time PC game port 2019-06-18 13:49:56Aspyr is ending sales of 32-bit titles as Apple discontinues 32-bit app support in the upcoming macOS Catatlina.

Cyberpunk 2077: release date, trailer and news 2019-06-18 13:26:57If you thought CD Projekt Red’s upcoming FPS RPG looked incredible before E3 2019, just wait until you see Keanu Reeves.

Animal Crossing on Nintendo Switch: release date, news 2019-06-18 13:06:19Animal Crossing: New Horizons isn't coming this year, but it's shaping up to be a totally unique experience.

These Huawei P30 Pro deals are now incredibly 2019-06-18 12:58:24One of the world's best phones at a great price - get a Huawei P30 Pro deal now and save some money, if you dare.

Australia vs Jamaica live stream: how to watch 2019-06-18 12:41:47Can the Matildas book their place in the Women's World Cup round of 16 with a win against the Reggae Girlz? Don't miss a kick with our Australia vs

Facebook WordPress plug-ins found to have zero-day flaw 2019-06-18 12:27:36Security researchers from Plugin Vulnerabilities have openly disclosed two zero-day flaws in Facebook's WordPress plugins, putting thousands of users

Expensive spectrum puts European 5G at risk 2019-06-18 11:58:13Recent spectrum auctions raise fears over rising costs

Best tablet 2019: the top tablets you can 2019-06-18 11:54:24The best tablets come from Apple, Google, and Microsoft, but not all are created equal. Here's what we like so far in 2019.

Amazon Prime Day deals 2019: everything you need 2019-06-18 11:52:04Amazon Prime Day is fast approaching, so we've put together a guide on how to find the best deals and everything else you need to know for the July s

EE now lets you watch BBC iPlayer and 2019-06-18 11:36:35EE users can now get some of the biggest data gobbling video players without data allowance with their mobile phone deal.

The 10 best cheap fitness trackers: the top 2019-06-18 11:21:31Wearable fitness trackers are smarter and cheaper then ever before, you don't have to spend as much to get fit.

The best free stock video sites 2019 2019-06-18 11:19:20Find high quality free stock video clips to use in all your projects – whether they're personal or commercial.

TechCrunch » Enterprise

VMware announces intent to buy Avi Networks, startup 2019-06-13 17:37:19VMware has been trying to reinvent itself from a company that helps you build and manage virtual machines in your data center to one that helps you ma

IBM, KPMG, Merck, Walmart team up for drug 2019-06-13 08:34:23IBM announced its latest blockchain initiative today. This one is in partnership with KPMG, Merk and Walmart to build a drug supply chain blockchain p

RealityEngines.AI raises $5.25M seed round to make ML 2019-06-12 12:17:56RealityEngines.AI, a research startup that wants to help enterprises make better use of AI, even when they only have incomplete data, today announced

Helium launches $51M-funded ‘LongFi’ IoT alternative to cellular 2019-06-12 12:01:20With 200X the range of Wi-Fi at 1/1000th of the cost of a cellular modem, Helium’s “LongFi” wireless network debuts today. Its trans

Apollo raises $22M for its GraphQL platform 2019-06-12 12:00:13Apollo, a San Francisco-based startup that provides a number of developer and operator tools and services around the GraphQL query language, today ann

WhatsApp is finally going after outside firms that 2019-06-11 15:56:30WhatsApp has so far relied on past dealings with bad players within its platform to ramp up its efforts to curtail spam and other automated behavior.

Dropbox relaunches as an enterprise collaboration workspace 2019-06-11 13:19:37Dropbox is evolving from a file-storage system to an enterprise software portal, where you can coordinate work with your team. Today the company launc

GitHub hires former Bitnami co-founder Erica Brescia as 2019-06-11 11:00:12It’s been just over a year since Microsoft bought GitHub for $7.5 billion, but the company has grown in that time, and today it announced that i

Alyce picks up $11.5 million Series A to 2019-06-11 08:44:02Alyce, an AI-powered platform that helps sales people, marketers and event planners give better corporate gifts, has today announced the close of an $

Crane, a new early-stage London VC focused on 2019-06-11 06:09:45Crane Venture Partners, a newish London-based early-stage VC targeting what it calls “intelligent” enterprise startups, is officially outi

AWS is now making Amazon Personalize available to 2019-06-10 23:50:40Amazon Personalize, first announced during AWS re:Invent last November, is now available to all Amazon Web Services customers. The API enables develop

Apple is making corporate ‘BYOD’ programs less invasive 2019-06-10 18:30:36When people bring their own devices to work or school, they don’t want IT administrators to manage the entire device. But until now, Apple only


Disclaimer and Notice:WorldProNews.com is not responsible of these news or any information published on this website.