“We are Greater for Data”

– but not unless we stop these data disasters!

Monday night Tim Drye and Keith Jones from the IDM Data Council joined me at the House of Commons for the debate “In digital, data is the only currency” where we heard Matt Brittin, UK MD of Google lead the argument for data in a fascinating debate.  Whilst narrowly losing to the media, brand and creatives that packed the Committee Room his rallying call that we really are “Greater for Data” emphasised the fast growing importance of data in today’s world.

Like all of us who depend on data, Matt’s case wasn’t helped by a member of the audience graphically likening data’s stage of development to the times of the “Wild West”.   Only days before of course we had the headline news of the illicit sale of customer records by rogue staff at T-Mobile with one industry commentator highlighting in the FT that the sale of confidential customer information is “an industry wide problem”!

If this is indeed the case industry-wide problems require industry-wide solutions.  Now is the time to seriously seek out viable solutions.  So what can we do at the IDM Data Council?

The IDM already runs excellent training courses and events around data including data protection – do go to www.theidm.com/datacourses.  These are currently being developed to increase coverage on data governance more broadly and data security in particular.  I would urge everyone in marketing (not just direct marketers), and IT look at these IDM data courses. 

We are also discussing at the next council meeting the introduction of a data ‘Award’ for marketing, IT & data professionals that reach an agreed capability.  Such an Award would help raise standards in data management and the profile of data as a professional and important management discipline. 

 In fact, I believe the DM sector can offer a lot to help businesses more generally avoid data disasters such as occurred with T-Mobile.  Whilst far from perfect the marketing and DM sector in particular has been addressing data theft and misuse for many years and can offer real practical help. 

One simple DM technique is the simple act, performed regularly by direct marketers and data owners, of adding unique “seeds” in list orders.  This has caught many thousands of cases of misuse.   If T-mobile had just had inserted and monitored ‘seeds’ in its customer data then they would have known about the abuse of stolen data straight away, could have acted quickly to catch the perpetrators, and would have avoided the embarrassment and brand damage that this data theft story must have caused.

There are new developments too.  The DMA is introducing an important data security standard DataSeal, which addresses people and process issues relating to data security which account for 80% of the cases of data breach according to Forrester Research.

Such initiatives are to be widely applauded.   Now is exactly the right time for the marketing industry led by the DMA and the IDM to shout loudly about their data security solutions and training programmes to help wider industry stamp out data scandals once and for all.  This will really help ensure that we do, as Matt Brittin predicts, become “greater for data”.

http://www.theidm.com/about/idm-advisory-councils/the-idm-data-and-database-marketing-council/ or e-mail adrian.gregory@dqmgroup.com

Adrian Gregory, Chairman of the IDM Data Council, Chief Executive DQM Group

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