On Monday, I woke up to an email from one of our partners in Europe asking to jump on a call. As I joined what seemed to be an urgent call, our team learned that one of their team members who was critical to the success of their data architecture project put in their notice and was leaving the company. Within a few days, we had to deliver a plan to cover her work, assess all the gaps that this presented, and determine a way to ensure that the knowledge she had about the project was successfully transferred to the members of our team. Does this sound familiar to anyone?
It’s no secret that when the COVID-19 pandemic began in early 2020, we all experienced massive changes to our personal and professional lives.
The bustling urban epicenters where we live, work, and shop became barren landscapes. Run-of-the-mill consumer goods like toilet paper became treasures, leading to supply shortages around the world. Lifelong office workers were relegated to conference calls from kitchen tables, their office colleagues replaced with children and pets.
While most of us saw and felt the impact of these changes directly, there was an additional consequence that was simmering below the surface.
Dubbed “the Great Resignation” by media publications, over the last few months there has been a mass migration of workers (specifically knowledge workers in the tech industry) to new job opportunities. This phenomenon has caught many business leaders by surprise and left them scrambling to replace experienced team members who have been valuable contributors within their organizations.
Many theories exist as to why this is occurring now—on the heels of one of the worst pandemics in world history.
Regardless of the cause of the Great Resignation, the effects for many employers are clear and the competition for talent has never been greater.
But for organizations with a focus on data, there’s an additional concern that comes with this mass migration—how do you retain knowledge and processes around your data assets and data governance that is required to keep the organization running, as well as maintaining compliance with local and regional privacy/data regulations?
Let’s look at the two areas where this knowledge loss typically occurs.
Loss of Data Governance Knowledge on Internal Team(s)
For organizations with an in-house data governance or regulatory compliance specialist, the impact of that individual leaving the company can obviously be a crushing blow. Knowledge about the organization’s data governance standards and past compliance efforts could disappear in the matter of a few weeks, leaving a knowledge gap that could significantly increase the organization’s exposure to legal and regulatory violations.
But the potential trouble doesn’t stop there. Organizations must also consider their overall data collection strategy and how their digital data is collected and tracked. If there is a single individual that is responsible for ensuring data is collected in a compliant manner, then that person is also the “single point of failure” for the organization if they leave for a new opportunity.
Loss of Data Governance Knowledge on Agency (Third-Party) Team(s)
Even if your organization has well-documented data governance processes and ways-of-working internally, how confident are you that your third-party agency partners have those same protections?
The fact is, for most medium-to-large enterprises, their third-party partners are their biggest weak point to remaining compliant with privacy regulations like the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and the California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA).
For example, the use case of “Company XYZ,” a large ecommerce organization headquartered in the United States. Company XYZ has a small internal digital media team and so they work with “Agency ABC” for all of their digital media campaign deployment and measurement.
Historically, Agency ABC has a single-point of contact for Company XYZ media analytics and audience building named Jackie. Jackie has been responsible for all of Company XYZ’s Floodlight tagging in order to build audience lists for future campaigns and remarketing. She’s well experienced with CCPA guidelines, and also understands GDPR requirements and overall best practices to prevent the collection of Personally Identifiable Information (PII) within Company XYZ’s Google Analytics assets.
Recently, Jackie left Agency ABC to pursue other opportunities. Her replacement as Company XYZ’s contact is Peter, who is well-versed in Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager, but does not have sufficient knowledge or expertise with CCPA, GDPR, or PII collection.
If you’re Company XYZ, how confident are you that Peter (and Agency ABC in general) will continue to keep your organization in compliance with these restrictive legal and regulatory requirements? What about all of the other third-party agencies that your other markets/brands are working with around the world? Do all of them share in your mission to keep the company operating “above board”?
So, What’s the Solution?
If you’re a business leader in a data-driven tech organization, chances are that the Great Resignation has already made an impact on your organization. Even if you haven’t lost members of your own team directly, I can guarantee that the third-party agencies that you work with have. And with each team member lost, there’s a potential knowledge gap which could leave your organization susceptible to costly legal and regulatory violations.
Make no mistake: protecting yourself and your organization against this “knowledge loss” can be a frustrating exercise, especially when there are so many circumstances beyond your control.
Luckily, through our partnerships with some of the world’s largest multinational organizations, InfoTrust has developed a set of best practices for minimizing (and mitigating) knowledge loss stemming from the Great Resignation. Perhaps, it is time to turn “the Great Resignation” into “the Great Reorganization” and see this as an opportunity to elevate your data governance processes to future-proof your business. We all hate to see our colleagues leave, but let’s not let everything that they built go to waste because we did not put the right processes in place.
On December 9, my colleague Michael Loban (InfoTrust’s Chief Growth Officer) and I will discuss these best practices and help you solidify your internal data governance practices to better navigate these uncertain times.
Reserve your seat to the webinar, and I look forward to seeing you there!