Key Considerations for Data Leaders in 2022

Key Considerations for Data Leaders in 2022

As we head into 2022, data leaders need to take a moment to consider the challenges and opportunities that come with the new technology landscape ahead. The emergence of the metaverse is going to change the way the game is played.  The big question is how business and data leaders can adapt to the needs of the new marketplace—one where a platform’s customers also create its products, and envision an agile supply chain that stays ahead of the curve. Most importantly, fundamental data management methodologies and practices need to be explored to counterweight the issues that the metaverse will pose.

The leap into the metasphere represents the key event that data leaders need to prepare for during the upcoming year. It denotes the merging of physical with virtual reality, and it will change how we interact and do business. Corporate giants have anticipated this shift, as shown by Facebook’s rebrand into Meta and Nike’s acquisition of RTFKT, a virtual sneaker company. Users will be able to create a custom shoe that only exists in a digital setting, with an option to order it as a physical, wearable object. The challenge that businesses need to face and figure out is how, when, and where this type of process happens, and the exact moment it becomes a transaction.

The foundational preparation required to take the big leap into the metasphere is going to be one of the most important priorities in 2022. This leads us to the concept of data governance, an overused term with so much baggage. Data leaders have struggled to govern data in the real world, but now they’re going to have to tackle this tricky topic in the virtual world. Just as Generally Accepted Accounting Principles (GAAP) took years to be established and enacted, the metaverse is about to put a new spin on financial statements. Knowing when revenue is recorded in the books while defining all the decision points during the process, such as pricing, purchase, shipping, and delivery of the object, represents issues that can get muddled between the two realities. Buying a digital property is just the first step, and since this product is not tangible, another transaction might be required to create its physical version. More complications are introduced once we take into account that content creators can make and sell objects that defy the laws of physics. The algorithms that we used for calculating the input of raw materials into the manufacturing process stop factoring into the equation, and as a result, our pricing engine is due for a complete rebuild.

If your organization has shied away from IT modernization in the past ten years, the metasphere provides a great entry point. Being late to the game means going straight to the front of the line, and as soon as you join, you’re up to date with current technology and regulations. The competition that got in earlier inevitably went through a lot of restructuring dictated by innovation, and carries a big tech debt as a result. I believe that in 2022, nearly every company will be on the cloud, as there is no time to wait anymore. Security issues have been largely ironed out, and the outsourcing of infrastructure has been recognized as a necessity, since it needs to be agile, and it needs to be fast. As horrific as the pandemic was, it forced companies to think digitally and make a push for remote work. This has affected the education system as well, as physical presence in the classroom is no longer required. To counter the psychological effects of isolation, I see a pronounced need for the creation of a curriculum dedicated to social interaction. It can result in a widespread benefit for society, and can be implemented within the next two to five years, marking a change in consciousness that recognizes the effect of technology on our daily lives.

In addition, the pandemic has heavily impacted the physical supply chain and many industries have suffered from its cascading effects, as evidenced by the impact of semiconductor shortages on the automotive industry. Naturally, those affected are looking towards new revenue streams, and making a big IT investment now can help alleviate some of the issues that they are facing. Acquiring small virtual businesses by companies that have a hard time selling physical things is a trend I see picking up pace in the near future, as they have a lot of gain by venturing into the metaverse. A new, foundational layer of data management processes is emerging, and Chief Data Officers will need to work closely with Chief Digital Officers to drive the change forward. Each new product needs to be online as soon as it’s created so that it can be marketed and sold across a wide variety of virtual settings. It doesn’t matter whether it’s a video game environment, a metaverse ecosystem, or a homegrown virtual reality, as the primary value of a new business model lies in its ability to adapt. The new supply chain must connect the physical and the virtual world, strengthened by a new perspective on data governance, as being agile means staying in business in 2022.

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