Featuring luminary speakers from companies across many industries,
Delphix’s Data Company Summit 2023 was a great opportunity for IT leaders to learn how to unleash continuous innovation and compliance.
This article was originally published on the Delphix website here May 11, 2023.
Delphix’s 2023 Data Company Summit (DCS) convened just a week ago, and what an amazing event it was. Held at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach, it was a rewarding opportunity to recognize innovation in the IT sector, network with new and familiar peers alike, and learn how leaders are addressing key topics on the CIO agenda. We also had the privilege to celebrate key leaders and innovators making an impact in IT sustainability with the inaugural SustainableIT Impact Awards.
DCS featured luminary speakers from ADP, BNP Paribas, Choice Hotels International, Cigna, Dell Technologies, IDC, Mattel, Microsoft, Zelis, and more. They shared their insights, learning and advice on a variety of important topics, including how to: mitigate risk and increase compliance without slowing innovation; incorporate sustainability into your IT practices and help the business be more sustainable; and improve developer experience and productivity by governing data across the application lifecycle.
Below, I’ve outlined five of my favorite takeaways from the event.
Technology Leaders Are Actively Driving Sustainable Change in IT
We were honored to kick off DCS by supporting the inaugural SustainableIT Impact Awards. These awards were given to technology leaders and their C-suite partners who exhibited leadership and achievement in driving environmental, social, or governance (ESG) sustainability change. All in all, 14 awards were presented across three categories corresponding to each part of ESG.
The winners were chosen based on their goals and progress in advancing sustainability as well as the positive impact they have had on their business. It was impressive to see so many strong examples of IT-led sustainability initiatives coming from such a wide range of sectors. You can view the list of this year’s winners here. The winners and SustainableIT.org collectively demonstrate that IT leaders can help pave the way for their businesses to operate not just more efficiently, but more sustainably, too.
The theme of sustainability was further reinforced during the presentations and panels during DCS. Many speakers talked about the environmental impact of data, especially its carbon footprint. Many were taking approaches to reduce data's impact through approaches such as data virtualization for their non-production environments.
On the social front, data privacy was front and center. But another topic stood out for me: the need for ethics in AI/ML use cases. During a panel discussion on data megatrends for CIOs, Vipul Nagrath, SVP, Head of Technology Services, Major Account Solutions & Human Resources Outsourcing at ADP, spoke about how ADP had established an AI ethics committee to examine the ways in which the company uses AI and ML analytics on its data. Part of the AI ethics committee’s goals are to help ADP eliminate bias in the ways it uses data, as well as being transparent about how the company protects the data it uses. As AI grows in use, I have no doubt that other companies will create similar committees.
Finally, on the governance front, Erik Zweifel, Chief Data and Analytics Officer, Americas Data and AI Business for Microsoft, shared their “team sport” operating model, which he described as “disciplined at the core, flexible on the edges.” There, domain teams (i.e., business units) are responsible for operational databases, AI/ML and BI, and intelligent apps; the central data office (his organization) owns the analytics foundation (core analytics architecture); and data governance is a joint effort, but the data office owns the data governance program (i.e., the standards and tools).
TDM is increasingly a part of the developer experience, and modernized TDM is a core component of optimized developer platforms
Achieving successful digital transformation requires accelerated software releases. While DevOps has made great strides in accelerating releases, test data is still a key constraint hindering the development process and limiting business success.
Legacy test data management (TDM) approaches fall short of DevOps speed and quality requirements, which results in slow, manual, error-prone, stale and noncompliant test data. Availability of high quality test data only gets even further constrained when compliance mandates and security risks are considered in the data provisioning process.
Sanjeev Sharma, SVP, Product Operations Engineering at Dell Technologies, shared an alternative approach, based on a model of trust, that utilizes a self-service platform and built-in guardrails around test data:
“You need to give your developers permission to act. If you made a [developer] platform self-service, but the developers still need to open a ticket to get approval from three people before they can do something, what did you achieve? So the permission to act is very important. But the permission to act needs to come with guardrails so that you can ensure that the developers don't do anything which puts them or your company or your system at risk. By the way, the data masking solution from Delphix is tremendous for that, because it's a guardrail where developers can't expose data because the data is masked. So don't give developers real data, give them masked data and ensure that's a guardrail already put in place.”
New technologies are placing a greater dependency on the need for enterprise data— but this data is often growing, siloed and expensive to manage. As disruptive technologies further mold industries and sectors, the need for high quality test data will only grow. Therefore, developers are increasingly finding that they need to modernize their TDM processes to perpetuate digital transformation.
Innovative strategies are needed to ensure data privacy and security without slowing the business
One of business’s greatest IT challenges is driving rapid innovation while adhering to compliance mandates and managing security risks. Compliance is often an expensive drag on the business, impeding the delivery of new and better software by imposing laborious controls or limitations on development teams. And increasing activity from state-sponsored actors and ransomware collectives has forced businesses around the world to make security a top priority for their business.
Therefore, innovative measures are needed to address both compliance and security without compromising delivery speed. One of the most innovative security strategies I heard at DCS came from Molina Healthcare CTO Gary Ahwah, who discussed how his company has been employing chaos engineering techniques to build up the resilience and security of their systems. Molina has actively been breaking up their systems into individual components, analyzing them for weak points, and determining what would happen if the system went down. It’s enabling Molina to improve their security as well as the ways in which systems interact and link together.
Data privacy compliance and ransomware protection is only going to grow in importance, but maintaining a quick time to market is essential to staying competitive. So, employing innovative strategies like chaos engineering will help businesses balance the two, while staying multiple steps ahead of regulators, bad actors, and competitors alike.
Digital transformation is essential for improving the customer experience
Why do we talk so much about digital transformation? Because it’s essential to helping businesses compete in today’s digitally-driven world. Customers drive business success, and a significant point made over and over at DCS concerned how essential digital transformation is to improving the customer experience— regardless of industry.
At DCS, we witnessed three world class examples of customer experience via a great panel discussion with technology leaders in hospitality, healthcare, and toy manufacturing. The panel examined the creative ways these leaders’ companies have used digital transformation to improve their customer experience. Choice Hotels VP of Engineering Jason Simpson discussed how they became a pioneer in delivering cloud-native hotel management systems, while Express Scripts IT Director Brandon Burge detailed how they launched their digital health formulary. And Randeep Arora, Director of Enterprise Application Services & TCOE at Mattel, spoke about how they had built a digital collectibles marketplace based on NFT technology.
The sheer diversity of benefits that digital transformation can bring to customers across all industries is surely its most compelling aspect.
Delphix Can Help Businesses Unleash Continuous Innovation & Compliance
The theme of this year’s DCS was “Unleashing Continuous Innovation & Compliance,” and sessions throughout the day showcased the successful strategies that companies across industries have employed to further their digital transformation efforts. At the same time, speakers also stressed the importance of innovating TDM while staying compliant with data privacy regulations to make that digital transformation possible.
Innovating while staying compliant is easier said than done, as data and application delivery challenges grow by the day. For instance, as organizations increasingly manage applications and data across the multicloud, it adds complexity and risk throughout the application and data lifecycle. As we’ve seen, improving customer experience digitally, ensuring privacy and security, modernizing TDM, and improving sustainability are all hurdles that businesses must clear in their quests towards innovation.
Sanjeev from Dell talked about the impact from Dell on their developer productivity:
We are a large Delphix customer, and one of my peer organizations, which builds all our customer facing applications…the customer-facing Dell.com, our portal, our Apex tool, they heavily use Delphix and have increased developer productivity significantly by integrating Delphix via the APIs into our application delivery lifecycle.
Delphix can help organizations clear these hurdles as they accelerate their pace of innovation.
Delphix's DevOps Data Platform unifies data governance, compliance, and automation across the multicloud, accelerating innovation while reducing costs and risk. From adopting continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD) practices to shoring up data recovery capabilities, companies have employed Delphix across their application lifecycles to help them mitigate risk, increase compliance, accelerate speed to market, modernize technology, and deliver on the future of sustainable data. As our customer, UNISYS Managing Director Rudy Gonzalez once said, “Delphix is like the magic sauce for data.”
Looking Ahead to Data Company Summit London 2023
DCS was a great opportunity to hear first-hand experience from technology leaders about key topics on the CIO agenda in 2023. I’m still thrilled with DCS, and I know attendees came away with lots of great connections and knowledge that they can carry into their roles as they Unleash Continuous Innovation and Compliance.
Based on the success of the event in Miami, I’m excited to attend our second and final DCS at London’s Sea Containers House on June 15. Featuring CIOs and other leaders from companies such as ABN AMRO Bank, Allianz Technology, ASSA ABLOY, London Stock Exchange Group, Metro Bank, Michelin, Sky UK, and Virgin Money, it promises to be just as amazing an event as last week’s event in Miami.
I hope you’ll join me at DCS London. Click here for more information about the event.
You can also find DCS Miami information in the community here.
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