Data powers transformations across industries, delivering insights we’ve never had before. But as we dive deeper into the potential presented by data, we also need to balance that with a need for data transparency.
Transparency does two things for us. First, it keeps everything available. Most companies are gathering so much data right now that they’re not able to make full use of it. By some estimates, 73% of company data goes unused for analytics.
Second, data transparency is key for building trust, both internally and with clients or consumers.
Before we get too into the thick of it, though, let’s look at the issue in general.
What is Data Transparency?
We’ll pull from PCMag’s definition here because it does such a good idea of summing everything up.
Data transparency is both “the ability to easily access and work with data no matter where they are located or what application created them” and “the assurance that data being reported are accurate and are coming from the official source.”
In short, data transparency aggregates data you can trust from multiple sources, presenting it in a format that’s easy to see and easy to use. It gives you a bird’s-eye view of what’s going on. Nothing hides in the shadows.
Why Most Businesses Deal With Data Opacity
It’s worth noting that the current status quo of data opacity isn’t necessarily driven by nefariousness. Most companies would choose data transparency, but they’re buried under the mountain of all of the data they’ve collected up to this point. As our tech tools and data collection points have skyrocketed, data management hasn’t necessarily kept up.
Ultimately, a lot of organizations have swept their data opacity under the rug more due to a lack of resources than anything else. Clearing the muddy waters of their data feels overwhelming, if not impossible.
The issue, though, is that a lack of data clarity compounds. We’re certainly not slowing our data collection rate. The longer organizations wait to move toward data transparency, the harder it will be.
With that said, we want to highlight two motivating reasons to build data transparency into your business.
The Importance of Transparent Data for Your Team
You collect data to power your company and empower your employees.
Without a single and accessible data pipeline, your team gets left with piecemeal information. They lose the context and other key details that should inform that data. Opacity sets them up for failure.
That might sound extreme, but we can give an all-too-common example. If your company has any sort of support line — whether that’s a client’s account manager to handle issues that arise or a customer support center — data likely gets created each time a client or customer reaches out with a complaint.
Say, though, that data opacity prevents that data from reaching the sales team. The day after they call to complain, another person from your team — maybe a salesperson or a project manager — contacts the client or customer. If your employee is unaware of the complaint, that call probably isn’t going to go overly well.
All told, data transparency lays a foundation for informed, thoughtful action, both with your customers/clients and internally. With access to all of the data and the ability to see how it interplays, you empower your staff.
The Legal Importance of Data Transparency
Internal data transparency can play a pivotal role in your business’s success, but you can’t stop there — quite literally. Global data governance has become further reaching in the last five years and the onus is on your business to comply.
Let’s look at a few major ones:
The European Union's General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR):
Article 12 of this regulation specifically speaks to data transparency. The gist of it is that if you collect any data from any person in the EU, you’re legally required to keep it carefully organized and, if the data subject requests, to show them what you’ve collected. Without data transparency internally, you could be scrambling to comply with that request. And that’s not a situation you want to encounter because GDPR fines are steep.
The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA):
Established the same year as GDPR (2018), this legislation applies to all California residents and requires essentially the same level of data transparency as the EU’s regulation. It doesn’t matter if you’re in California. If the data subject from whom you’re collecting information is in the Golden State, you have to comply.
Service Operations Center 2 (SOC 2®):
This collection of trust services criteria can be applied to any company that stores customer data in the cloud. It’s essentially an auditing procedure that ensures that companies are following best practices and performing due diligence to protect the data they gather. (As a quick aside, Toric will be validated as an SOC 2-compliant provider this year.)
Implementing data practices that comply with regulations like these generally isn’t easy. But if you don’t already have internal data transparency, it can quickly escalate into a full-fledged nightmare.
There’s a benefit to this potential headache beyond avoiding fines, too. As you establish data transparency, you build trust and loyalty from your clients or customers.
How Toric Helps
Building data transparency can be a whole lot easier than you thought.
In fact, your timing is perfect. Thanks to Toric, you can build a single dataflow pipeline — and do it without writing a single line of code.
Toric goes a step beyond data dashboards, with all of your data compiled into a single flow from all of your sources. There, you can not just see it, but also engage with it. Features like drag-and-drop, filtering, notations, and clean-up let you transform your data to make it as transparent and useful as possible.
If you want to see our no-code dataflow in action, we offer a free trial that will let you test it yourself.
Also, since data transparency is a still-evolving topic, you can subscribe to our newsletter. There, we’ll help you stay up to date on the latest news, resources, and articles about data best practices.
P.S. If you’re looking for a tool that can help with your data transparency, start with our article 6 Features to Look For in Big Data Analytics Tools.