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How Data Sharing Will Define the Future of Business

Revelate

Table Of Contents

It’s common knowledge that oil, as a resource, has been essential for the functioning of our societies for hundreds of years. But another hot commodity has entered the ring as the hot new resource of today’s world⁠—data.

Data flows through every process, every transaction, and every piece of software. This data can be harnessed by organizations and individuals, including governments, agencies, regulatory bodies, researchers, scientists, and more, to make better decisions, fuel innovation, and overall increase understanding in a myriad of different areas.

But, of course, gaining access to this data comes with challenges.

First, there are organizational silos. Silos tend to happen when company goals aren’t aligned throughout the organization, or there is a culture that focuses less on a team mentality and more on personal gain and status. When organizational silos exist, that data within that organization also tends to exist in silos. When not everyone within an organization can access the data needed to make better business decisions, it’s the antithesis of data sharing.

When we look at data sharing outside of an organization, the main concerns often relate to privacy and security⁠ as a data provider. A big concern is ensuring you don’t lose control over your data, like inadvertently sharing certain datasets with a party that shouldn’t have access to it.

But before we get into the fundamentals of data sharing and its advantages, it’s important to dive deeper into what data sharing is, including its history, to understand more about the overall conversation surrounding data sharing and how organizations can address the challenges surrounding it so they can reap the benefits.

What is Data Sharing?

Data sharing is when an organization makes its data available for internal or external stakeholders to use. Data sharing is a big component of the idea of data democratization, which posits that organizations should shift their thinking from keeping data locked away from internal and external stakeholders, and instead adopt a more open line of thinking—“share data unless” rather than “don’t share data at all.” To understand why organizations traditionally tend to lean more towards not wanting to share their data, it’s important to understand the history behind data sharing.

History of Data Sharing

There’s some evidence that shows that academia, specifically research, was one of the first areas to embrace data sharing. The scientific community realized that they could streamline research processes, gain better insights, and make significant inroads within different sectors—from meteorology to medical science—faster and with more accuracy when data is shared among researchers and scientists. Today, data-sharing initiatives for the scientific community are strongly encouraged and even supported by governments.

Even though academia has been a bit more forthcoming with regard to data sharing, getting organizations on board with internal and external data sharing has consistently been a challenge.

With regards to sharing data, organizations are often concerned with:

  • Data silos. If organizational data already exists in silos, the thought of having to aggregate data from multiple sources can seem overwhelming.
  • Concerns about privacy and security. Even amongst internal employees, ensuring that the right information reaches the right hands without data falling into the wrong hands can be taxing on IT teams if they’re looking at datasets manually. When data is shared externally, the same concerns apply but are expanded because data is out in the world rather than still within the company.
  • The need to shift from a non-data sharing culture to one that embraces data sharing. It takes significant work to change an organization’s culture, so convincing internal stakeholders that they need to embrace data sharing when the organization has traditionally been hesitant takes time.

Still, the potential advantages of data sharing make putting in the work to address these challenges worth the effort, especially when new technologies exist that make data sharing easier and more effective than ever before.

Revelate offers a platform-agnostic approach to data sharing that allows organizations to take part in internal and external data sharing easily. Regardless of where data is stored, Revelate can extract datasets and provide them to customers (which can be internal or external users) with the click of a button.

It all starts with the Revelate data marketplace. As a fully customizable data-sharing platform, you can create a white-labeled data marketplace that even less technically-inclined staff can use to fulfill data orders, reducing the reliance on IT teams. A user simply visits the web store, searches for the data set that they need, and clicks a button to retrieve said data.

Revelate doesn’t store any data on our servers, so when a data request is submitted, an automated process—complete with your custom security and privacy measures that you set out in advance—extracts the data set directly from the source, processes it, prepares it, and distributes it to the customer.

Discover how Revelate, as a data sharing service, can spark your organization’s data sharing transformation.

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Revelate provides a suite of capabilities for data sharing and data commercialization for our customers to fully realize the value of their data. Harness the power of your data today!

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Advantages of Data Sharing

woman reviewing data sharing

There is a myriad of reasons why organizations should be shifting their culture from not wanting to share data under any circumstances to a culture that embraces data sharing. These reasons include:

1. Monetization

Data monetization refers to the concept of selling data for economic benefit. Organizations can use their data as a reliable source of revenue—provided that they have an audience that wants the organization’s data and that the organization has a way of ensuring that they can deliver high-quality data products consistently.

Traditionally, organizations have utilized data marketplaces to sell their data products. These marketplaces work similarly to any eCommerce store, where products are listed in a consistent format and typically have a search function so users can find what they are looking for. Data marketplaces are a great resource, especially for organizations that are just starting out with selling their data and don’t have an established audience.

But marketplaces do have their challenges. Perhaps the two biggest ones are:

  • Product display options
  • Audience access

Limited options for how to display your data products in the name of consistency may hinder searchability, meaning your data products may not be easy for your target audience to find. With regards to access, many data marketplaces require an account (free or paid, depending on the marketplace) and/or their users to stay within their ecosystem, meaning that data can’t be utilized on the customer’s platform of choice.

Revelate solves both of those issues by offering a fully customizable data sharing platform solution that is able to extract data from any source, automatically prepare, process, and package the data, and apply security and access protocols before an order is fulfilled.

2. Creates New Possibilities for Collaboration

Data sharing creates or enhances opportunities for collaboration both within and outside an organization.

Within an organization, easy access to datasets increases understanding of different departments and how their work aligns to meet organizational goals. It also fosters creativity and innovation regarding how data is used, which can lead to better products, better customer service, or process improvements.

When data is shared outside of an organization, the use cases are often similar. Organizations may seek external data because:

  • They’re looking for additional information to aid in solving problems
  • They want to innovate existing products or create new ones to give themselves a competitive edge
  • They’re interested in powering machine learning (ML) and artificial intelligence (AI) tech, allowing these technologies to work faster and more effectively.

Whether data is shared internally or externally, or both, it results in better collaboration between the data user and data provider.

3. Aids with Data-Driven Decision-Making

When data sharing is prioritized, better business or organizational decisions can be made. Rather than looking at just one part of the picture by relying on internal data only, internal data can be augmented with high-quality data from outside the organization to provide more information and therefore allow better data-driven decisions.

For example, a case study on Data Pitch outlines how a German startup focused on business intelligence called IPlytics provided its data to an Italian business, SpazioDati, that was looking to enhance its business intelligence knowledge graph. Both organizations did this by joining the Data Pitch program. By augmenting SpazioDati’s existing data on various business sectors in Italy with public patent and research data from IPlytics, SpazioDati could more effectively use their platform to act on future technology trends, and both organizations improved the databases for their respective platforms.

4. Encourages Data Quality

When organizations are sharing data with each other, or data is shared internally within an organization, it encourages the data provider to take the needed steps to ensure that the data sets they are sharing are good quality, as they are expecting good quality data sets in return.

5. Improves Transparency

Continuing along the topic of trust, data sharing has two distinct effects on transparency:

  1. With regards to organizations, data sharing encourages transparency because the organization knows that their data will be shared with internal and external stakeholders and that those stakeholders will be able to see any modifications made to the data, and also rely on that data to better their own organizations.
  2. Sharing high-quality datasets increases an organization’s positive perspectives, both internally and externally. So access to complete datasets (that, of course, follow organizational and regulatory security and privacy policies) is beneficial from an economic standpoint but also from a positive reputational standpoint.

The Sarbanes-Oxley Act (SOX) that was passed in 2002 illustrates why data transparency is so important. This act was passed in light of various corporate data governance scandals, where major organizations like Enron, Worldcom, Sunbeam, and more were found not to have accurate financial records. This is significant because, without accurate financial records, investors and analysts aren’t making sound investment decisions, and analysis of a company’s financial condition won’t be correct.

The SOX posits that an organization must have sufficient systems in place to track and store data, and that data must be easily searchable and accessible. In addition, organizations must have the proper security in place to prevent and detect fraud. These regulations ensure that investors are working with correct data and that internal employees are also making data-driven decisions using accurate information. Plus, data transparency allows regulators to identify problems and take corrective action before issues increase in size and scope.

6. Improves Efficiency

Data sharing also improves operational efficiency, especially when a data web store like Revelate is used to allow easy access to datasets. Instead of relying on IT to fulfill data orders, users can access datasets through a self-service data web store that fulfills data orders automatically. This way, employees can get the data that they need faster to help them make data-driven decisions for initiatives such as marketing campaigns, spending decisions, and more. In addition, external stakeholders can access datasets in the same way, allowing them to purchase datasets on their own or have a salesperson or other employee help with the data fulfillment process rather than relying on IT, making the sales process much more efficient.

Challenges of Data Sharing and How to Overcome Them

Although data sharing has a myriad of benefits, there are challenges that organizations face. These challenges are outlined in more detail in the table below:

Data Sharing Challenge Solution
Data management. Insufficient data management processes reduce the capability of data science stakeholders to oversee how data flows throughout an organization. Developing robust data management strategies that focus on data access control and data management in the cloud as foundational influences.
Privacy. Meeting the requirements of data security and privacy laws can be daunting, especially since they often require a high degree of transparency, and it can be complicated to translate legal jargon into actionable organizational policies. Using legal automation software and legal counsel to interpret laws and develop effective policies.
Security risk assessments. Understanding your organization’s level of data security risk alongside ensuring that security and data privacy measures are working can be a significant barrier to safe data sharing. Implement data security automations such as dynamic data masking and privacy-enhancing technologies to ensure that data is shared safely, whether it’s shared in an internal or external environment.
Insufficient technology. Data sharing needs to be supported by the right technology. Organizations often deal with multiple sets of tools that do the same thing and have different capabilities that can hinder effective data sharing. Careful analysis and consolidation of current tools are often needed alongside standardization. Data access control tools that integrate with multiple systems and provide a single source of truth are also required.
Fear. Data sharing, especially when it’s done externally, is often thought of as a security and and liability risk, especially with the speed and simplicity in which cyberattacks can occur. Having clearly defined processes, task ownership, effective communication methods, and reliable, trustworthy technology to back data sharing initiatives, alongside developing an organizational data sharing culture, is paramount for reducing fears.

Best Practices for Using a Data Sharing Platform

While many different platforms are available to facilitate data sharing, not every solution offers an equal experience. It’s important to recognize that with the plethora of data available in the world and the increase in different data sharing platforms, it’s important to understand the best practices that govern sharing data effectively.

Data Sharing Platform Best Practice Description
Use reliable marketplaces Use well-known marketplaces from recognized sources, such as Snowflake, Databricks, AWS, Revelate, and others.
Understand data security and compliance Data security and compliance should be completely understood before listing your data product. There should be significant information on a provider’s website that describes their commitment to data governance and security (e.g., AWS data exchange).
Ensure metadata of datasets are updated and easily displayed by the data sharing platform Data exchange networks, data marketplaces, and other data sharing repositories will have standardizations for how data products are displayed. It’s important to ensure that the metadata of your data product matches these standardizations to ensure your listing is easy to find and understand.
Clear licensing requirements A data sharing platform should allow licensing to be added to data sets that state who can access and reuse the data.

Use Cases of Health Data Sharing

data sharing in healthcare

Perhaps one of the most impactful uses of data sharing occurs in the healthcare industry. As challenges such as inflation and chronic conditions require the industry to implement innovative a creative solutions to ensure that patients get the best care, the importance of data sharing is only heightened. Different use cases for data sharing in the healthcare industry include:

1. Builds Trust with Patients

Data sharing can help build trust with patients regarding the quality and accuracy of care they receive. Having a centralized location where multiple healthcare providers can access patient data securely helps maintain continuity of care when the patient sees multiple healthcare providers. This means that when a patient visits their family doctor, a specialist, or needs to visit the hospital, the healthcare professionals that they work with will be able to see the patient’s full medical history and make more confident care recommendations.

2. Helps Inform Patients

Another benefit of data sharing in the healthcare industry is providing patients with information. For instance, in Canada, centralized healthcare systems that store patient records are increasing in popularity among the different provinces in the country due to the benefit of healthcare professionals being able to access full information about patients and patients being able to access their own health records, through systems such as Alberta Heath’s MyHealth Records, which allow patients to access their health records online. With Alberta’s MyHealth records specifically, patients can not only view their current medical information but also send messages to their healthcare providers, keeping them fully informed and involved with their own care.

Another way that health data sharing is beneficial in keeping patients informed is through education. Consistent and reliable, factual information on topics such as vaccine development, medications, and treatments helps relieve fears that some patients may have with, for instance, getting vaccinated, agreeing to take a medication, or undergoing treatment.

3. Informs New Therapies and Adds to Existing Therapies to Improve Patient Outcomes

When healthcare professionals and medical researchers are able to access wider data resources, then new treatments, therapies, and more can be developed quicker than ever before. Data science for example, combined with researchers working together in terms of sharing data allowed Pfizer to develop a COVID-19 vaccine in record time, improving patient outcomes by allowing more people to get access to a tried and tested vaccination faster than ever before.

4. Reduces Pressure on Healthcare Facilities

Data sharing can help relieve pressure on healthcare facilities by providing quicker access to patient information for healthcare professionals and allows better allocation of resources to treat patients more effectively and efficiently.

For example, healthcare services in East London, UK were able to utilize patient data to reduce the amount of admissions to A&E, which is the UK’s version of a hospital emergency room. By looking at the patient’s GP record (a centralized database in the UK that houses patient information), healthcare professionals are able to access patients’ needs before admission to A&E, allowing them to redirect patients to more appropriate services if required.

This not only frees up emergency services to help more critically ill patients but also educates patients on where they should go to receive the best care for their needs.

Conclusion

Data continues to be a hot commodity for organizations of all sizes. Data sharing allows organizations to generate an additional revenue stream, build mutually-beneficial partnerships with other organizations inside and outside of their industry, and allow better data flow within an organization. In addition, data sharing fuels creativity and innovation with regards to product development, process optimization, and overall business improvements. With the myriad of benefits that data sharing has to offer, it makes sense that it is increasingly being embraced by all types of organizations.

Although data sharing is lucrative, engaging in data sharing for the first time may seem daunting. With Revelate, data sharing inside and outside of your organization is made easy through a fully customizable web store, complete with your own privacy and security policies to keep your data safe. In addition, Revelate is platform agnostic, meaning that regardless of where your data is stored, it can be retrieved to fulfill data orders.

Discover how Revelate revolutionizes the data sharing experience. Book a demo today!

Simplify Data Fulfillment with Revelate

Revelate provides a suite of capabilities for data sharing and data commercialization for our customers to fully realize the value of their data. Harness the power of your data today!

Get Started

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Data Sharing

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Data sharing 

made simple

Revelate handles the complexity of data sharing so you can service internal teams, intra-company, and partners with the data products they need. 

A better relationship with data

Strengthen your data-driven culture by giving teams the tools they need to extract value from data. Data consumers want the most effective way to access the data they need, when they need it, and the way they want. With Revelate you can provide that experience while enforcing the policies and entitlements of the data product. We make it simple for data providers to pre-configure the access and usage rights saving decoupling a request for data from data being manually serviced.

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Benefits of data sharing

Sharing data provides a competitive advantage. To be successful as a modern business, leveraging data from various platforms is a must to ensure that you stand out in your industry.

Enhance business innovation and development

Access to internal and external data can help organizations create innovative new product and service ideas and/or develop and fine-tune existing products and services to better serve their customers, partners, stakeholders, and more.

Gain better insights and strategies

When data is shared between partners, suppliers, and other external ecosystems, it’s mutually beneficial for everyone involved to develop better insights and strategies for all respective businesses.

Solve challenges and meet goals with confidence

When internal data is augmented with external data, better insights can be gleaned, resulting in more relevant information available to solve business challenges and meet business goals.

Fully understand the impact of your business

Your business’s Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) may be a core part of your operations, but relying solely on internal data can result in biased information that doesn’t tell the whole story. Data sharing lets you get the entire conversation on your business’s impact.

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More data? no problem!

Revelate can handle both first-party and third-party datasets. We provide the capability to manage PII data and the complexities of sensitive data which is typical when incorporating external datasets. Share full datasets or create granular data products. Streamlining to just the data required saves costs and creates a better experience for consumers.

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weaving into your data ecosystem 

Revelate fits into your data ecosystem. We work with all major hosting providers like AWS, Azure, GCP, Snowflake, and Databricks.

Enhance data collaboration but retain control

Data sharing opens up more collaboration opportunities with internal and external stakeholders related to your organization. Enjoy these mutually beneficial data-sharing ecosystems while still retaining full control over your data.

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