Data [ware]house of Cards

data house of cardsPlaying games is fun. As a modern society, we have much with which to entertain ourselves, including the depth and breadth of anything from Candy Crush to Game of Thrones. In one breath, we’re re-stacking candies with the Pavlov’s dog conditioning of those sumptuous sounds that let us know we’ve wiped out an entire family of bonbons. In another breath, we’re reenacting a war, and choosing which enemy to target for the kill. Data is inherent in every digital game we play.

Data serves as the input to understanding player behaviors that help app producers improve their product. Data serves as an output to let ad companies know which ads to serve as popups. Data is collected on the infrastructure and operation of the data warehouse that enables players to play in real time.

Data is inextricably woven into our framework of having fun. *Think online shopping cart functionality: “If you liked peanut butter, we’re pretty sure you’d like jelly.” “If you liked raspberry jelly, there’s a good chance you might like cream cheese.” Intelligent insights enabled by data.

But, there’s a difference between playing cards and living in a house of cards. In other words, there’s a difference between playing around with our data to gain insights versus building an entire global ecosystem with data as the foundation. The wolf will huff, and the wolf will puff, and the wolf will blow our data house of cards down.

Data has the versatility of a deck of cards. Those who are skilled at data manipulation can shuffle the deck and make your magic number appear. We’re all aware there’s “magic” and “skill” involved in shuffling and dealing the data, but we should also be keenly aware of the risk we take when casting our lots. Here are a few distinct ways organizations and individuals typically gamble with their data.

One, we assume a level playing field, common rules by which we all play that narrow down our potential moves.

Within the data landscape, we all have the same deck of cards—our intent to capture, transport and use data. We are ready to play but are not well versed in the rules of the game. In the case of data management, we lack extensive knowledge of data laws, rules, and regulations. We think that less governance means more agility, but we forget there are other players, all with the intent to come out as the champions.

Two, we don’t hold our data hand close enough.

This means, we understand the importance of data privacy, but despite the tangible cost of personal and business data breaches, not to mention the lasting embarrassment and stigma, we tend to remediate rather than initiate. We guard our hand but underestimate the methods by which cheaters cheat.

Three, we keep tossing the dice as long as we’re winning, increasing our wager far beyond the level of risk we’re prepared to assume. 

This goes beyond data privacy issues and involves our collective lack of technical acumen. Our obsession with data is side piece status. We play games. Have fun. Rarely take the time to consider our long-term relationship with data. And in the end, we get played.

Data is fun. Getting played is not.

Don’t let the big bad wolf blow your data [ware]house down.

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Please join me as I explore the #HeartOfData™️.

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