The Data Paradox: The Primary Conundrum of A New Era
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The Data Paradox: The Primary Conundrum of A New Era

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Cinthya Alaniz Salazar By Cinthya Alaniz Salazar | Journalist & Industry Analyst - Tue, 02/22/2022 - 10:58

The digital transformation triggered by the COVID-19 pandemic brought to light the unquestionable rise of a global data-driven circular economy. To unlock its full potential, all economic participants need to rethink the data-related rules, regulations and governing bodies at a national and international level, says the World Economic Forum (WEF). 

Quantum technological innovations and diminishing costs of production enabled the digital ecosystem to expand outward from information economies to emerging economies where internet penetration has steadily increased. This uptake fueled the growth of a burgeoning and competitive technology startup ecosystem in Latin America that has translated into economic might for their respective countries and people. Later, the arrival of the COVID-19 pandemic would come to force remaining digital holdouts to submit or succumb. 

The unrelenting progression of technology applications is expected to generate more data in the next three years than what was produced in the past three decades, according to recent estimates by International Data Corporation. This new threshold generative capacity is a clear demarcation of a new epoch, the rise of a new market system in which data has become an active asset. While the concept of amassing data to discern market insights is not new, unspecialized companies and public institutions only have a rudimentary competency for data analysis. In other words, institutions are gathering data faster than they can analyze and utilize it: the data paradox. 

A recent Forrester survey of 4,036 high-level executives showed that 70 percent of data decision makers are gathering data faster than they can analyze and use it, yet 67 percent constantly need more data, read the text excerpt. 

This insight indicates three things about the accelerated rise of a global data-driven economy. While we may be living in an information economy, it does not automatically equate to a knowledge society. Second, the preference towards data-driven decisions has created a generational opportunity to develop the capacity to distill data into a genuine factor of production. Finally, as is common with new frontiers, it is of utmost importance for public and private institutions to rethink the rules, regulations and agreements governing data and the implications a non-regulated economy could have for all market participants. 

Such a momentous task will require parallel coordination from public and private institutions and should be rightly constrained by measures of accountability, transparency and privacy. Nevertheless, since almost every company conceived from here forward will be a technology company that stands to benefit from consumer data, they will have a significant role in the development of an ethical data-oriented culture. Moreover, as suggested by the WEF, similar to the formal institution of Chief Information Officer as a C-suite executive amid the surge of cybersecurity attacks, this economic shift similarly calls for a new role: Chief Data Officer. 

Photo by:   Tiger Lily

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