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How companies can maximize their data for business value in 2023  

Article by Jill Macmurchy, APAC Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Confluent 

The pressures of inflation and threats of recession are uncertainties that companies are continuing to contend with in 2023. To ensure more efficient operations, bolster resilience and sustain long-term growth, business leaders in APAC need to make intelligent investments in their digital transformation projects.

Data streaming is a key technology we’ve seen an increasing interest in. Organizations need to re-think the way they use and integrate data in real-time, modernize cybersecurity measures to protect the data, and ensure proper management of data controls and ownership to deliver greater customer value. Essentially, companies must optimize the way they deploy technology so their data work smarter, not harder.

Establishing real-time streams to stay competitive

At the forefront of an organization’s competitiveness is its ability to meet customer demands. According to a report by McKinsey, 60% of APAC customers expect to continue engaging with companies through digital channels, and 75% indicated they would turn to alternative brands if greater value was provided. Yet, despite the indicated importance of customer personalization, only 24% of organizations have technology ecosystems that are enabled to drive data integration for better customer experience.

Jill Macmurchy, APAC Vice President of Solutions Engineering at Confluent. 

For organizations to drive greater business value with their data, tackling data management and integration inefficiencies is crucial. Currently, most data projects across industries are point-to-point, where processes start with teams locating data specifically for a project to produce a certain output. This repeats with every new project, meaning that most resources are directed toward preparing data to be fit for use. Data analysts are therefore left with a scarce amount of time to conduct high-value data analytics that translates to company profitability.

In contrast, shifting data from its source and into a real-time stream makes information readily discoverable and easily adaptable for different projects. Having the right solutions can help organizations streamline their technology stacks and consolidate software to improve the automation of data flows. Organizations can also consider working with a cloud-native provider to fully manage their data streaming. With data at their fingertips, data analysts will have more room to focus on innovating and supercharging their organization’s growth.

Modernizing cybersecurity measures and infrastructure

Aside from optimizing workflows, real-time data streaming can substantially enhance cybersecurity measures amidst the rise of increasingly sophisticated online threats. In Singapore alone, nearly half of businesses have experienced a cyber incident. The country’s Cyber Security Agency has also recently launched an online portal for enterprises to access resources and tools that can help improve internet security as organizations continue to digitalize.

With more elements at play in a data-rich, digital environment, organizations need to ensure their infrastructure is well-equipped to navigate growing risks and identify potential areas of attack.

By decoupling the capture of data from other applications and setting data into motion, companies can sift through and analyze large quantities of data rapidly in order to pinpoint potential cybersecurity threats, detect anomalies as they occur and mitigate potential damage. These capabilities are particularly pertinent in sectors such as finance and retail, where real-time data streaming can help detect fraudulent attacks while safeguarding critical user information and data privacy.

Strict data governance for increased customer transparency

Secure data sharing and governance is another priority for organizations to address. Many individuals are reluctant to share their personal data as they are unsure of how it will be used by companies. Governments are also working to set tighter regulations in place, making data privacy a fundamental right. In fact, just last year, countries across Asia such as India, Vietnam, Singapore, Malaysia and Indonesia updated their data privacy and cybersecurity laws or are in the midst of drafting new bills.

As shared earlier, organizations are aware that customer data is essential to develop business strategy and deliver personalized customer experiences, regardless of industry and use case. To address privacy requirements and security concerns that prevent customers from sharing their data, organizations need to rethink the way they structure and manage data ownership. Companies that take the lead in providing transparency and control will foster better brand reputation and customer trust.

With markets moving towards open-data initiatives and launching data-sharing systems, companies can follow suit by building secure, centralized architecture that can process a vast amount of data in real-time. Powered by data streaming, organizations will be able to recognize the owners of specific data and design applications that respond intelligently to customer demands. Concurrently, each individual’s selected level of data privacy is respected.

2023 brings about a slew of challenges when it comes to dealing with business data, but organizations that embrace the new opportunities that come alongside it will thrive. The use cases for data streaming are limitless, and companies that put their data to intelligent use will stay ahead of the curve.