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Boomi 2020 Predictions: Welcome to Planet Data

VMblog Predictions 2020 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2020.  Read them in this 12th annual series exclusive.

By Michael J. Morton, Chief Technology Officer of Boomi, a Dell Technologies business, and Dell Fellow

Welcome to Planet Data

This is my fifth year contributing to the VMblog Predictions series, and it has now become a tradition. Not only that, it is an opportunity for me to pause, collect my thoughts and experiences, and formulate what businesses, and the world, are likely to experience in the coming year in regard to technology and the potential impacts.

So, why the title Welcome to Planet Data? Of all the predicted technology and policy trends that I have written about in years past for VMblog, whether internet of things, voice, gestures, intelligence, edge, blockchain, net neutrality, or privacy, they all have one significant aspect in common; their dependence on data to produce results. Today, in 2020, our entire planet runs on data. I don't need to be cliché and mention how much data now and in the future is expected to be produced, but it is worth mentioning where all this data is coming from. It's from the advances and coverage of networks, the continued proliferation of mobile devices, and the continued explosion of network attached everything. It is also the progress of compute and storage that is facilitating technologies producing significant amounts of data such as vehicles, and facial and body recognition solutions. And of course, data produced from the results of artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies. In other words, technology itself is producing data from data.

Our planet is a giant living universe that is an entity where its circulatory system is made of networks and data. What can go wrong?

My primary prediction is that we will see a new evolution in innovations because of changes in culture and expectations around data. Think about how quickly we now look at a new application or feature on our mobile phone, and immediately think, "how did that application know that about me?" Or, "what data is that application collecting?" This was not even a thought a few years ago, but now there is increasing uneasiness and concern for privacy that is naturally happening because of the production and availability of so much and different types of data about people and businesses.

Data Privacy Policy and Regulations

Let's first set the stage with data privacy policy and regulations, which will continue to evolve very aggressively in 2020. The challenges to businesses, especially global businesses, is being able to react to not only the landscape of different data privacy policies like GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), PIPEDA (Personal Information Protection and Electronics Documents Act), APPI (Act on the Protection of Personal Information), etc., but to also react to policy at a state level in the US such as CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act). Currently there is a lot ambiguity and enforcement uncertainty worldwide, so my advice would be to use this short period of time, this year, to invest in a company strategy to get solutions and processes in place. You will need to adapt for the inevitable because this is just the beginning. Our data sensitive culture will continue to evolve, and new expectations will emerge. Businesses will need to react per evolving policy and regulations, or it may be a chance to leap ahead as a competitive maneuver.

Forget Me and Prove It

There is a concept introduced within GDPR for the right to be forgotten which allows a person to request a company to erase their personal data. I would predict that data privacy policy and regulations will require that inquiries from people, about what personal data a business has on them, will need to be increasingly more detailed. This will coincide with what is expected to be erased upon a ‘forget me' request. However, as expectations rise in our data sensitive culture of building skepticism, there will be an evolution from "forget me" to "forget me and prove it". Did your personal data also get erased from company backups? How do you know for sure?

Explainable Data

Explainable AI is an emerging concept which simply means, the ability to explain in a human consumable form the results from artificial intelligence technology. As I mentioned, about technology itself producing data from data, there is an endless number of insights and new data created about people and businesses based on applying AI technology from numerous sources of data. For instance, targeted marketing based on your buying habits and demographics, such as where you live, your age, and your income level. Or, your credit score, or even your lesser known consumer score. Yes, most consumers have a consumer score. But how was this score determined? Similarly, to the concept of explainable AI, I predict that when it comes to using data to arrive at some conclusion about you, there will be a future expectation to explain how the results were derived. In other words, the results will need to be accompanied by the explainable data that is human consumable.

Trust Me, The Data Was Good

As an extension of explainable data, it is very likely, not only will companies deriving some insight about a person or business need to reveal the sources of data used by algorithms and AI technologies, but there will also be an evolution to associate that data with a trust score. There is an emerging space of what is referred to as ‘data confidence fabrics'. This is the ability to associate a confidence score with the actual data about things, people and businesses. It is based on the credibility and security of its lineage. Did the data used to generate some intelligent insight come from trusted sources? It is my belief that this expectation will grow as more people learn to question situations that impact their life and/or business. The way to be able to prove this is by knowing the trust scores for the data which will be available through data confidence fabric networks. Take a look at the Linux Foundation Project Alvarium as an example of a community-driven data confidence fabric effort.

Additionally, there is a new emerging C-suite role referred to as the Chief Trust Officer. This role has manifested as a result of the evolution described above. More and more businesses are going to necessitate this new leadership role, which will be responsible and accountable for all of the above.

Planet Data Predictions Round-Up

My primary prediction for 2020, as stated at the beginning, is we will see new innovations because of the changes in culture and expectations around data. The data privacy policy and regulation changes that will occur in response to the anticipated evolution of expectations examples cited above, are not possible to achieve with the software and solutions that are on the market today. We will see more of a focus in 2020 with solutions coming to market, as well as new features to existing IT solutions, that will help business with this evolving landscape of regulatory challenges. Business will depend on and come to expect IT vendors' solutions to inherently possess the capabilities to help them manage Planet Data and avoid financial losses due to regulatory fines.


About the Author 

Michael Morton, VP, CTO, Dell Fellow

Michael Morton 

Michael has held the position as Chief Technology Officer for Boomi, a Dell Technologies business since 2013. His innovation and strategy leadership has helped Boomi achieve being recognized as a leader in the Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Integration Platform as a Service for 6 years in a row. He has been innovating and producing a wide-range of enterprise platform solutions for over 30 years, which includes being a co-founder of IBM WebSphere Application Server. In addition, Michael achieved the elite status of IBM Master Inventor, and is also a Forbes Technology Council member.

Published Monday, January 13, 2020 7:12 AM by David Marshall
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