Veritas CMO: Manage your data or risk your brand reputation

Veritas Technologies CMO warns marketers need to tighten the reigns on data management or face serious consequences

The data minefield facing organisations today means CMOs need to up their data management game or risk exposing a brand’s reputation and breaking down customer trust, Veritas Technologies CMO, Lynn Lucas, warns.

The warning comes after the recent announcement of changes in global data protection regulations set to be rolled out in May 2018, which provide that any organisation collecting individual EU citizens’ data may face steep fines for any breaches, including mismanagement or inability to delete the data.

“Fines can be steep, up to 20 million Euros for each incident,” she told CMO. “It’s very serious and as individuals and customers, we all expect our data to be respected and kept safe.”

Lucas noted it’s increasingly challenging for marketers to cope with the proliferation of data and in particular, unstructured data, which she sees more and more organisations struggling to effectively manage.

“Businesses are using it more and more to create better customer experiences, to attract customers and retain them better, but they tend not to delete anything,” she said. “There are massive issues that come from that – such as cost, risk – especially with new data protection regulation coming into effect.”

Recent Veritas research indicated 52 per cent of global data is 'dark' - its actual content and value are unknown. To make matters worse, with the average millennial storing twice the amount of data than baby boomers and 30 per cent more than gen X, the volume of unstructured data is expected to grow 39 per cent year-on-year.

“Our research also shows that IT doesn’t know what is in 50 per cent of their data, and they know 30 per cent of their data is actually ‘rot,’ which is an acronym for redundant, obsolete or trivial,” Lucas continued. “So a very small proportion of data is actually known and valuable to the business.”

According to Lucas, the CMO plays a huge role in helping with these data challenges, because in many organisations the marketing leader is not just steward of the brand, but the steward of the customer experience, responsible for collecting and managing the relevant data – and safeguard it to protect the brand’s reputation.

“The CMO needs to work hand in hand with the legal counsel, and plays a crucial role in effective data management,” she said.

Lucas urged other marketers to get up to speed on the latest regulations, partner with the CIO and understand the true impact of mismanaging data and any potential breaches would have on customers.

“I also suggest CMOs to take a proactive stance with the board to study the profile of your organisation and the management of the data,” she said. “But with the changes set to take place over a year away, there is not a lot of time to think about what you wish to do, create your plan, how to put in the right audit systems and the right systems. Some organisations see the change as big as Y2K.”

Lucas said partnering with the data scientists also provides an incredible opportunity to leverage data effectively in order to create more enhance experiences for customers and serve them better.

“I think it’s actually a really exciting time for CMOs, to be partnering with not just IT, but this new crop or league of data scientists,” she said. “And what drew me to Veritas - was that the organisation is fundamentally about helping IT manage data for over 20 years.”

With an extensive background in data management and technology, Lucas took up the CMO’s post in June 2016, after being the VP for enterprise marketing and corporate communications at Veritas. Prior to that she was CMO of Good Powered by Blackberry and held executive positions in a number of tech companies including Cisco and Hewlett-Packard.

“I’ve always been in the technology industry and my education is in electrical engineering, but I learned that I much prefer talking and working with people than sitting in a cube and coding all day long,” she said. “What always attracted me to marketing was being able to explain technology – and now we have an incredible use of data as marketers - that really appeals to the analytics side of me.”

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