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Reltio Supports Apple CEO Tim Cook’s Clarion Call for Stronger US Customer Data Privacy Laws

Manish Sood, CEO & Founder, Reltio

Apple CEO Tim Cook’s call for a U.S. privacy law, similar to GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), is appropriate and timely. Five years ago this initiative would have been too big of a burden for companies because customer data is siloed throughout organizations in dozens or hundreds of separate systems. But today modern data management solutions that include technologies like machine learning empower organizations to implement data governance and privacy initiatives at scale, and are an essential part of their overall Customer 360 data strategy.

GDPR has irreversibly changed the landscape for single customer view data projects for companies doing business in Europe. And there are lessons we can learn from businesses that have gone before us. Early efforts to comply with data mandates at the application level have come up short. Upholding GDPR principles, as companies have quickly realized, requires an enterprise data layer approach to PII (Personal Identifiable Information).

Virtually all companies have customer data scattered across multiple networks and lines of business — the only way to manage this data sprawl so that customer data privacy compliance is assured is to discover, organize and control all customer data from internal, external and third-party sources. If that sounds like a tall order, the good news is that we at Reltio have already developed and implemented best practices that include the essential ingredients for ensuring customer data privacy for some of the largest global enterprises by:

  • Identifying all systems managing customer data

  • Blending different types of data

  • Understanding data ownership

  • Identifying data shared outside the organization

  • Maintaining data lineage across all customer attributes

  • Managing different types of consent, and their sources

  • Providing customers a way to make data-related requests

  • Deploying processes for required data access, change and deletion

  • Implementing a mechanism in place for timely reporting of a data breach

Whether it’s correlating omni-channel transactions to customer master records and understanding, to determining how each customer is related to other members of a particular household, to whether those disparate household members have consented to their data being used and for what purpose. Maintaining data lineage to data sources and tracking to downstream applications so we know from where a customer profile attribute originated and which applications are using it is critical. This is the power of technology that enterprises already have to ensure customers are protected under the right to be forgotten stipulation. (As an aside, the right to be forgotten is a bit of a misnomer. The regulation actually stipulates that a company is required to retain evidence that they ‘forgot’ a customer. Make sure you pick a vendor who understands these nuances or your efforts may be undermined.)

Under GDPR, individuals are entitled to data erasure, which means that at their request, all traces of their information must be purged, including legacy transaction data that might reside in activity logs. In sum, this mandates a comprehensive customer profile with a 360-degree view that can accommodate data-change requests and the ability to generate privacy compliance reports fast.

Organizing data with a modern data management platform for growth strategies like new revenue models, improved customer experience, or other initiatives results in clean, reliable data with built-in customer data privacy compliance.

A comprehensive customer-centric data management strategy that delivers data privacy capabilities is built on four pillars:

  • Consolidated profiles: Organizations need the ability to collate all data from internal, external, third-party and social sources. At the same time, they must have the power to trace and maintain data lineage across all attributes. This sweeping level of visibility is invaluable in the event of a data breach.

  • Managing relationships: Graph technologies play a unique role here — they offer a deeper and more accessible understanding of relationships between stores, locations, channels and types of consent. It also helps to trace the adult consent for capturing the data of a minor.

  • Data change requests: This is a critical requirement for GDPR compliance, and companies need to step up. Built-in workflows in the systems used should accommodate all customer data change requests, deletion requests, review requests and more.

  • Data as a Service with traceability: Drawing from third-party sources is a major benefit, but GDPR compliance requires tracking which attributes came from where.

Those that view a U.S. privacy law as a regulatory burden rather than an opportunity have not yet internalized what it means to be a customer-driven company. Your customers’ privacy is already table stakes today and is part of your responsibility as you serve them. Compliance towards protecting customers’ privacy is a journey not a destination – get the right platform in place today so you can meet any regulation or concern that they might have. You’ll find that it will improve your brand, and customer loyalty, and that’s just good business.

I’m proud that Reltio has been a pioneer in empathizing, understanding, anticipating and embracing customer privacy concerns, and that we’ve embedded product capabilities into our Reltio Customer 360 solution. I completely agree with Tim Cook’s call for a similar U.S Privacy law and as Reltio customers can attest they are already ahead of the game, with Reltio governing their sensitive customer data at scale throughout their organization using master data management, graph, and machine learning technologies.

Why Reltio is All-in on Salesforce Customer 360, and the Adobe, Microsoft, SAP Open Data Initiative

Manish Sood, CEO & Founder, Reltio

Last week we saw some exciting announcements on the subject of Customer 360 and customer engagement. First Adobe, Microsoft, SAP and announced a new partnership: the Open Data Initiative, the intention to create a single data model for consumer data that is then portable between platforms. Then Salesforce announced Customer 360 at Dreamforce 18, to help brands identify who their customers are and how they previously interacted with them. The single customer 360 ID will enable companies to access customer information through Salesforce’s various applications including Sales Cloud, Service Cloud, Marketing Cloud, and Commerce Cloud.

The announcement is great news for the industry, and I’m excited to share today that Reltio will be supporting both initiatives. This means that our customers, who are already in production using Reltio Cloud for Customer 360, as well as any future customers and partners, will be able to use Reltio to take full advantage as both initiatives evolve while benefiting from significant additional capabilities.

Standardizing on a common data model, and having a single Customer 360 ID is important, but such efforts have historically been limiting. Common IDs and tight coupling of apps can solve some immediate problems, could provide a quick fix for small organizations but in the long run, can create new islands of data that can create challenges for larger enterprises. Reltio will help both initiatives by continuously unifying and organizing all data within their respective models while making it universally accessible for collaboration and consumption across the enterprise. Our philosophy has always been that standalone customer profile data reconciliation is insufficient without the benefit of understanding relationships across more than just the customer domain. Unlocking the value in relationships across multiple domains such as customers, households, stores, locations, products, parts, suppliers is essential to a true Customer 360, and Reltio delivers this at an enterprise scale.

The Open Data Initiative announcement mentions a data model with over 50 different open source schemas stored in a data lake. These schemas require companies to stitch together the relationships across attributes, schemas, and profiles. Reltio helps this effort through logical metadata that combines all 50+ schemas into one unified canonical model and view of the customer data while ensuring continuous data quality that prevents a traditional data lake from turning into a data swamp.

We started Reltio on the idea that customer data will always be distributed across dozens of application sources with different formats; that companies will keep on adding new sources; that understanding relationships across all data types, not just customer profiles are important; that agility is key, and that future-proofing from changes in technology investments is critical. It’s the reason why we adopted a multi-cloud, multi-model data storage architecture, rather than an arguably easier approach of committing to a single NoSQL, RDBMS, or a graph database. For over seven years, we’ve been delivering on the promise of the complete customer 360-view, through a foundation of trusted, reliable data, powered by open, next-generation modern Master Data management (MDM). We’ve delivered this by not just creating a better MDM in the cloud, but creating a true 360-view that includes master data, relationships across all data entities and correlating omnichannel interactions, transactions. But we didn’t stop there. We architected a platform that brings together analytical insight and operational execution using advanced analytics and machine learning to continuously correlate insight, action, and outcomes in a closed-loop, to extract the maximum business value out of data.

Our customers – which include eight of the 10 largest life science companies, two of the top 10 cosmetics companies in the world, a global hotel and hospitality group, a U.S.-based healthcare insurer, one of the largest U.S.-based pet retailers, one of the largest mortgage providers – rely on Reltio for their digital transformation and customer engagement initiatives. From globally harmonizing customer 360-views across 140+ countries to bring together customer data from hundreds of millions of organizations, to real-time personalization, marketing segmentation of millions of consumers, Reltio continues to deliver on the promise of Customer 360.

Speed, performance, and scalability are key. Over 4.3 billion mission critical master profiles, representing well over 1 Petabyte of storage under management in Reltio Cloud, is being accessed by business teams globally to the tune of over 85 million real-time API calls per day. As these numbers are growing by the second, our multi-cloud platform supported on both AWS and GCP provides the elastic and scalable horsepower to meet demanding workloads, and the aggressive growth objectives of global enterprises. They look to their “Reltioed” data as the trusted source for their analytics and machine learning (ML) initiatives, compliance requirements such as GDPR, and next-generation customer engagement and experiences.

Reltio partners, including Salesforce, Mulesoft, IQVIA, AWS, GCP, Accenture, Cognizant, Wipro, ZS Associates, and Dun & Bradstreet, have all been part of successful Reltio for Customer 360 deployments, which bring together data across applications and sources in multiple Salesforce, Adobe, Microsoft, and SAP environments.

These are exciting times for enterprises looking to transform themselves and leapfrog the competition. But it’s not easy, with a shifting landscape of technology choices, continuously evolving regulations such as GDPR, CCPA (California Consumer Privacy Act), and the need to operate at scale most cost-effectively. To companies considering how the Salesforce and Open Data Initiative announcements might impact their plans, please reach out to us to learn more about our support of both initiatives, and how we can get you on a path to future-proofed Customer 360 in a matter of weeks. To our current customers who have placed their faith, and most importantly their critical customer data assets into Reltio, I’d like to say thank you, and assure you that the best is yet to come.

These 3 GDPR Requirements You Must Support Today are Nothing Compared With What’s Coming

Ramon Chen, Chief Product Officer, Reltio

On May 25, 2018 GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) went into effect. The primary objectives of the GDPR are to give control back to their EU citizens and residents over their personal data, to simplify the regulatory environment for international business, and to unify regulations within the European Union.

GDPR is relevant for any organization doing business with EU citizens, regardless of where the company is based. Personal data includes a wide range of personal identifiers, from addresses and public information, to social profiles, images, IP information, device IDs and medical and financial details.

Consumer personal data collected within your company is often distributed to multiple systems and organizations, resulting in duplication. Your organization may be considering master data management (MDM) solutions to address various data management needs including compliance challenges. Legacy MDM systems may comply with a small part of the regulation by managing profile data, but they also leave it to you to figure out how to manage the transaction and interaction information distributed across systems and channels.

Complying with GDPR should be part of your day-to-day operations. One philosophy is that a Modern Data Management platform should organically support the key elements of GDPR by managing your customer’s profile information, lineage and succession through your day-to-day data management activities.

  1. RIGHT TO BE FORGOTTEN – GDPR guidelines require your organization to support your customer’s Right to be Forgotten and purge their records upon request. Your business will also need to support your customer’s request for a copy of their information in a portable format. Any GDPR solution needs to guarantee purging of all traces by customer entity type in support of data erasure, including the removal of any attributes and historical transactions made by individuals captured as part of their digital activities, which is outside of the scope of traditional legacy MDM tools.

  2. CONSENT MANAGEMENT – Your company must also support a provision to produce any proof of consent provided by your customer on request, and a way for customers to withdraw the consent. Explicit consent is required before information is collected, and adult consent is mandatory when the collection of data involves children below the age of 16 years. Any solution that supports the management and maintenance of rights and consents must have the ability to capture and store consent types. Graph technology provides a great way to store relationships so you can easily capture and prove that an adult provided consent regarding the collection of information for a minor.

  3. AUDIT & LINEAGE – The new GDPR legal framework requires your company to support the ability to demonstrate the deletion of your customer’s private information. built-in audit and data lineage to support accountability for your business to demonstrate compliance. Attributes must also traceable back through lineage to the internal and external data providers they came from. In the case of a change request, the request can be routed back to its original source.

While there are many tools being offered to meet GDPR and other regulatory requirements, companies should use a Modern Data Management platform that supports both offensive (e.g. improve operational efficiencies, deliver better customer experiences) data strategies, and has defensive (e.g. maintain compliance, reduce costs) data strategies built-in.

Facebook has stopped short of promising GDPR level data compliance for US users. If you are a US company, even if you have no EU data, you should consider implementing a Modern Data Management platform that gives you GDPR-ready capabilities. Imagine the branding and goodwill you’ll get with your customers when they realize that you are taking measures above and beyond (exceeding that of Facebook) to respect their privacy and data.

Finally it won’t take long for the US and rest of the world to catch up, the State of California recent enacted The California State Assembly’s passage today of the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) which has many elements of GDPR. My article listed three very basic GDPR requirements, there are certainly many many more. Regardless of the solution or tool you put in place today you know that many more regulations are coming. A Modern Data Management platform does the heavy lifting for you today, and protects you into the future, allowing you to focus on your business.

Why Master Data Management and Machine Learning Go Hand in Hand

Ramon Chen, Chief Product Officer, Reltio

Reltio’s inclusion in the The Forrester Wave™: Machine Learning Data Catalogs Q2 2018, by Michele Goetz with Gene Leganza, Elizabeth Hoberman, and Kara Hartig, Forrester Research, June 2018, sparked (pun intended) several questions. Such as why was Reltio included, how did we receive such strong marks, and why were we the only Master Data Management (MDM) vendor in the Wave?

The simple answer is that the Wave’s qualification criteria includes several key areas in which Reltio is naturally strong. As the only Master Data Management platform recognized in the Wave we believe our core MDM capabilities contributed to our strong showing. In fact, Reltio had already been included, together with 23 other excellent companies, in Forrester’s Now Tech: Machine Learning Data Catalogs, Q1 2018 report preceding the Wave.

That report outlined key 3 characteristics of Machine Learning Data Catalogs (MLDC):

1. Interpret, define, classify, link, and optimize the use of disparate data sources

Reltio is used by companies globally to define logical business schemas, capture and discover relationships through the Reltio Self-Learning Graph, suggest ongoing improvements, and to organize and bring siloed data together across the enterprise to meet their business objectives. This continuous reliable data foundation feeds better operational execution, predictive analytics, and sets them up to evolve towards a self-learning enterprise.

2. Reconcile policies across data use

Reltio Cloud’s built-in data security and privacy, regulatory, life-cycle, and data quality policies coexist to adapt data for multiple uses through a powerful audit trail, and role based access to data. This is critical in the face of evolving compliance measures such as GDPR. Flexibility and agility to ensure that you can track not just where the data originated, but how it’s being used and the outcomes it generates, is a critical component of any forward looking ML strategy.  

3. Democratize data to the edge of business

Reltio is particularly well suited to meet this requirement through frontline business user facing data-driven applications and workflow and collaboration capabilities that come OOTB with Reltio Cloud. It allows teams to submit comments, suggestions, filter and easily segment information through a UI that’s as easy to use as Facebook and LinkedIn.

Data science teams are then able to use Reltio IQ, with Apache Spark to run their algorithms without the pain associated with cleaning and onboarding data in separate environments. This is increasingly important as enterprises deploy machine learning systems, with data scientists requiring relevant, curated data sources to train algorithms to improve results.

As this video illustrates, the true value comes from being able to synchronize ML-algorithm derived IQ scores back into master profiles as aggregate attributes. Making them available for segmentation by marketing, sales, and even data stewards and compliance teams. Teams can then continuously reconcile results to recommendations in a closed loop to self-learn and improve outcomes.

We are tremendously proud and honored to have been included in the MLDC Wave as it reflects our core belief that machine learning cannot be used in isolation from the overall data organization and management needs of the business.

Whatever your desired outcome, MDM forms the backbone of high quality, reliable data which allows ML to thrive.

ML in turn provides unique capabilities to improve and increase the efficiency of data quality, and enterprise data organization operations. Like the graphic I selected for this post, they go hand in hand, and are interconnected across all points of the data continuum and life cycle.

Four Ways to Use GDPR as a Strategic Driver

Ankur Gupta, Sr. Product Marketing Manager, Reltio

Post May 25, 2018, per the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), companies with business ties to the European Union need to comply to GDPR standards. The cost of non-compliance is huge, but the regulation is meant to benefit individuals as well as businesses. Let’s look at what it can unlock for you and your brand if you approach it in the right way. What about being able to say that you are the safest enterprise in your marketplace when it comes to data? How about if you can not only reduce operational cost but can also create new revenue streams by being compliant to GDPR and other upcoming regulations?

1. Replace Legacy Systems by Future Proof Cloud-based Applications

When companies are taking steps to comply with GDPR, they are required to perform a ‘spring clean’ of their data, which can in turn lead to multiple efficiency gains. Organizing data improves the way firms carry out analytics and take business decisions. To comply with the regulation, companies must be able to illustrate the entire data flow – how data comes into the company; how they store and manage it; and how they treat it at end of life. This will encourage businesses to replace legacy systems by flexible cloud services to be more nimble and transparent especially when regulatory regime keeps evolving. In addition, most large enterprises have grown through M&A. Thus, they can look at GDPR as an opportunity to get rid of obsolete software and accelerate application retirement.

2. Gain Brand Loyalty and Attract New Customers

Companies can leverage GDPR to change the landscape from risk mitigation to improving their long-term competitive advantage. They can see early GDPR compliance as a competitive differentiator and position themselves as leaders of an emerging new normal. We trust those businesses who values our privacy beyond mere legal compliance. Thus, GDPR is an opportunity for businesses to get their data in order, get compliant and become consistently transparent with their customers. In a post-GDPR world, data sharing would be seen in the context of mutual respect and value exchange. It is an opportunity to re-connect your business with your current and potential customer base and start a new relationship based on mutual trust and responsible personalization.

3. Invest for the Future

The criticism that GDPR compliance might restrict innovations in AI ignores a subject’s right to privacy and consent. In fact, not being GDPR compliant would impose far more constraints on data collection and processing, slow down the ability to leverage innovations in AI and pay an opportunity cost such as market share losses in the future. Read this article for more details – Understanding GDPR and Its Impact on the Development of AI. In addition, in an era of data-driven innovation, business partners need to work together across the value chain. Data-driven innovation requires a clear understanding of the data to be collected and the reasons for collecting it. There are double opt-ins in such value chain: both partners need to be clear about what data they have about each other, and why. It’s very important that their data sharing practices are compliant with GDPR and other upcoming data regulations. As a first step to GDPR compliance, companies must define the scope of GDPR-relevant personal data that is collected, processed, and shared. Once a company identifies the scope of GDPR-relevant personal data, it should catalog all internal and external data sources that fall within this scope.

4. Execute A Delicate Interplay of Offense & Defense Data Strategies

In the post-GDPR era, personal data protection will become a data strategy issue. To comply, businesses need to have solid data organization and data governance in place. The GDPR gives companies the opportunity to holistically re-assess all their data, not just personal data. Data defense is about minimizing regulatory risk and preventing theft. Data offense focuses on increasing revenue, profitability, and customer satisfaction. Strong regulation in an industry (e.g. financial services or health care) would move the company toward defense; strong competition for customers would shift it toward offense. The CDOs and the rest of the leadership should see GDPR as an opportunity to establish the appropriate trade-offs between defense and offense to support company’s overall strategy. Read this blog post for more details – Is Your Data Strategy Defensive or Offensive? Why Not Both?.

Data is a company’s most important asset, and it’s constantly growing. Taking mandated compliance and turning it into an opportunity to personalize, delight and exceed customer expectations would fuel innovation reliably and responsibly.