When Archaeology Meets Data Science

5 Minutes

In February, news broke of a data leak at Credit Suisse. Known as Suisse secrets, the breach...

In February, news broke of a data leak at Credit Suisse. Known as Suisse secrets, the breach related to more than US$100 billion held by 30,000 clients, some of whose records stretched as far back as the 1940s. Of course, you can do nothing to change the past, and for problems that happened decades ago, you’re unlikely to be fined. But what can organizations like Credit Suisse do to demonstrate to the world that they’ve learnt from their mistakes and won’t make them again? The reason for this is that once trust is lost, it’s very hard to regain. After all, reputational costs can often far outweigh any financial penalties slapped down by regulators – although the threat of either is enough to keep chief data officers awake at night. The problem for bankers and financiers – and indeed anyone who deals in data, so pretty much the whole corporate world and large swathes of the public sector – is that data complexity is on an inexorable upward journey. Complexity: the biggest challenge for CDOs Dealing with complexity is unquestionably the biggest data challenge for CDOs and their colleagues; the data landscape has become messy, badly designed and bafflingly interconnected. As we move systems into the cloud and reflect on the onward march of technology, it’s clear that a new approach to data and metadata management is needed. And this is before we explore the huge raft of data-related regulations that have emerged in recent years. All of which explains the impetus behind Solidatus, a powerful tool for clever data management, visualization, and discovery. Using Solidatus you create living blueprints that map how your data flows, and how it’s affected, as it moves around your systems, both now and at other points in time. By revealing hidden opportunities and threats, and showing you the impact of change, a Solidatus lineage blueprint delivers clarity and an enriched understanding of your data ecosystem, so you can optimize your infrastructure, operate more efficiently, and minimize risk. Its cleverness perhaps explains why Solidatus has been recognised as one of the most influential financial technology firms of 2022 by this publication. Described as “paving the way for exceptional industry innovation, and at the fore of exciting change” by the magazine’s panel of experts, we were acknowledged for the work we’re doing “to set new industry standards through [our] authentic culture, drive for brilliance and transformational technology”. But what makes it so different? In short, it lives in the real world. If you’re not living in the real world, the picture of your data doesn’t represent a reality that will actually happen. Game-changing technology: This makes Solidatus a game-changer. By taking a view of the world we live in, we are, in this moment, looking at reality. We need to understand what’s happening today, but we can also look at the likely future state of our interconnected systems. The model you create in Solidatus effectively becomes timeless. This way of working doesn’t require anything to fundamentally or conceptually change. It’s a case of looking at the future back, not the past forward. We ask: what is the world going to look like? What can we extrapolate to see how things will be different? It’s not about a static catalog. And this brings us back to digital archaeology. Digging in the data: You can’t tear down your systems, but we can help you understand them better. In doing so, you can safeguard and improve the world of your future. If the people who built your systems are long gone, how can you move forward? Well, you can capture this information and map it into a model of your systems so that you can move forward; machines are only as smart at the people who’ve written them. So, archaeology really is at play. The world has gone through revolutions in terms of data, which has become unwieldy and complicated. The pace of change of technology, whether it’s hardware, software or outsourcing to the cloud, has been tremendous. And at the same time, there’s been an absolutely colossal change in regulations and expectations of technology to respond to them. In such a landscape, you need transparency. What Solidatus gives you is a mirror to identify where you have faults. Shedding a light on this complex landscape allows you to engineer improvements, to deconstruct, and to move forward into areas of potential value. It’s all about understanding your business from a data and systems perspective and asking yourself how you can bring them with you on your onward journey of, say, moving your mainframe into cloud. And that’s just one of many, many examples. Quantifying the benefits of this approach But what does this mean in practice? Well, let’s use the example of a bank. One particular bank uses Solidatus for a variety of purposes, with data privacy and cross-border data sharing being important pieces of their data jigsaw. Their journey coincided with the emergence of many GDPR-like regulations, bringing with it the mammoth task of enhancing the security of any data that’s stored in or flows through EU member states and beyond. In practice, this means everything – or at least you need to audit everything to see if it applies. By using Solidatus for various data- and systems-related projects, we’ve calculated that the bank has potentially saved around 400 person-years of rigorous investigation, likely to equate to tens of millions of dollars annually in perpetuity. Their way of working in this area of their operations has fundamentally changed, and for the better, also guarding against regulatory fines that can potentially run into the millions. The ROI in terms of opportunity costs and remediation costs is enormous. The world isn’t getting simpler. Consider for a moment that a standard smartphone has more computing capacity than the massive fleet of computers it took to put a man on the Moon in 1969. How complex will your systems be in another few years? Is it time to re-evaluate how you manage your data?
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