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Fluree 2021 Predictions: The Year Data Management and Compliance Takes Center Stage

vmblog 2021 prediction series 

Industry executives and experts share their predictions for 2021.  Read them in this 13th annual VMblog.com series exclusive.

The Year Data Management and Compliance Takes Center Stage

By Brian Platz, co-founder and co-CEO, Fluree

At Fluree we have developed a data management platform intended to facilitate secure data sharing, and power data-driven insights. Our platform organizes blockchain-secured data in a scalable semantic graph database and establishes a foundational layer of trusted data for connected and intelligent data ecosystems, providing enterprises with integrity around the data to prove that it has never been tampered with.

2020 has been an incredible year for technology innovation and in 2021 we will see exciting new advancements, driving technology trends across various market segments. 

Data Compliance Will Drive Re-evaluation in Enterprise Architectures

Data is a transformative enterprise asset that streamlines operations, lowers the threshold for innovation, and provides the insights needed for critical business decisions. But as data becomes more ubiquitous and versatile, information compliance pressures to protect consumers are also mounting. GDPR, CPRA, CCPA, and many more imminent data regulatory policies will force enterprises to re-think their data strategies to more effectively account for compliance and privacy. 

Chief Data Officers and Chief Compliance/Privacy Officers will need to collaborate and establish a new framework to accomplish their respective goals together. In many cases, this will involve building a new master enterprise architecture from the ground-up where data governance, access, and privacy rules are baked directly into a single source of truth and these procedures can be reported on-command.

These new data privacy regulations will only become more granular in 2021. If enterprises are still managing a mess of data silos instead of a master data platform, these emerging privacy laws will add complexity, cost, and risk. 

The Rise of the Enterprise Knowledge Graph

Knowledge Graphs are tools to interconnect structured and unstructured data into a common format for analysis and discovery - essentially a data platform that makes information F.A.I.R. (Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, and Reusable). You could think of a Knowledge Graph as a "single source of data truth" layer atop the many databases an enterprise might operate. Practical use cases might include fraud detection, supply chain forecasting, or AI applications.

It makes sense that interest in Knowledge Graphs is on the rise: companies in every industry are looking for better ways to make better sense of their data and apply data more intelligently into their operations.

For years, this sophisticated technology was reserved for top market-cap enterprises, such as Google, Microsoft and Amazon. These companies have had the privilege of building and operating their own knowledge graphs, but this power dynamic is quickly shifting. Thanks to skyrocketing interest in data-driven decision making by medium and large enterprises and proliferation in graph data management vendors, the barrier to knowledge graph adoption is lower than ever before.

Digital Verifiable Credentials Will Undergo Proof-of-Concepts

In an age of such digital innovation, how is it that we still use paper to prove our identity? Physical documentation such as passports, driver's licenses, school diplomas, and social security papers are still society's primary format for proving essential facts about an individual. And for good reason -- with over three million identity theft cases recorded in 2019 alone -- documentation of authenticity is too important to subject to the wild west of the internet, at least right now.

This could change, slowly, with trusted and tested innovation in the Verifiable Credentials space.

Verifiable Credentials are the digital representation of these physical certificates. They must adhere to W3C's Verifiable Credentials data model for expressing verifiable information on the web. These digital credentials are issued by a trusted authority via public/private key cryptography and can be mathematically verified as authentic. Many of these use cases involve the use of blockchain technology to authenticate this data.

While there is much work to be done in the digital identity and provable credentials space, 2021 will see idea-stage proof of concepts to demonstrate their potential. We specifically forecast early progress in education and supply chain as key industries adopting and testing this digital identity technology.

Master Data Management will Evolve into Master Data Services

There seems to be a wide disparity in data management sophistication across the industry spectrum - laggards are still working on building their first data lake, while forward-thinkers are deploying rich data fabrics. In any case, all enterprises are working towards accomplishing "Master Data Management," an emerging practice of building a single platform for maintaining an enterprise's official shared master data assets. This can be as simple as building a "golden record" customer data repository to cut down on redundancies in data silos.

However, these first-generational master data management systems are not dynamic; they tend to be "read-only" static representations of data pulled from silos, spreadsheets, and apps. In addition, most Master Data Platforms are reserved for a special few -- data scientists or data compliance specialists. But as we know, data now has many stakeholders. 

What if enterprises could deliver master data directly to their various stakeholders without building more and more data silos? What if enterprise applications could dynamically contribute to and leverage trusted sets of data in real-time? And what if we could centrally control data governance to streamline the identity and access management process so that we could get information into stakeholders hands faster? 

Master Data Services evolve traditional MDM towards an operational model of delivering high-quality data directly to applications without compromising quality or security. In essence, Master Data Services allows businesses to truly leverage enterprise information as both an operational and analytical resource.

As companies are shifting from a read-only master data "lake" towards a bidirectional model of dynamic data source <> data consumer data management, Master Data Services will find adoption in 2021 and beyond.

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About the Author

brian platz 

Brian is the Co-founder and Co-CEO of Fluree, PBC, a North Carolina-based Public Benefit Corporation focused on transforming data security, ownership, and access with a scalable blockchain database. Platz was an entrepreneur and executive throughout the early internet days and SaaS boom, having founded the popular A-list apart web development community, along with a host of successful SaaS companies. Previous to establishing Fluree, Brian co-founded SilkRoad Technology which grew to over 2,000 customers and 500 employees in 12 global offices.

Published Wednesday, December 16, 2020 7:38 AM by David Marshall
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