The future success of digital transformation depends not simply on technology, but on putting in place the systems necessary to protect people’s data, while making sure it is accessible and organised.
Lack of data governance can facilitate not only misuse of data but also non-use of data contributed by citizens for use in research. If ethical and regulatory concerns are not resolved, then confidence in digital technology will be eroded; and instead of a digital transformation, there will be a digital stagnation.
Governance can unlock the potential of digital technology by providing reassurance, restoring confidence and rescuing the data ecosystem from significant pitfalls and challenges. To respond to this national and global challenge, the SFI ADAPT Centre is driving innovation in this area by developing systems to protect citizens while streamlining data accessibility.
The importance of governance in unlocking digital transformation has been recognised internationally. As the secretary-general of the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Rebeca Grynspan, says “governance is what will determine the outcome of digital transformation.”
Disruptive technologies such as AI and advanced data analytics are enabling organisations to respond more efficiently than ever before. Now, the challenge is to ensure the data governance and management challenges are met.
New governance frameworks can ensure that data is managed and used safely and correctly. The healthcare domain is one area, where connected health data ecosystems and networks has brought new challenges.
The work of ADAPT, through programmes such as Empower Data Governance and Precision ALS, is helping to inform the debate and shape the response by providing robust systems to deal with these challenges and use data for social good.
Privacy-preserving technologies are safeguarding the rights of data sharers. Together with intelligent systems, they can protect citizens while streamlining data exchange in the global business ecosystem.
The success of digital transformation is not just dependent on technology. It has ethical considerations, regulation standards to meet, and business applications — issues that affect every single person because data is collected on everyone.
Proceeding with digital transformation with the right data governance systems in place will ensure that people do not need to fear the future, but can enjoy the benefits and the extraordinary potential of new technologies.
By Professor Markus Helfert and Professor Gaye Stephens