The Importance of Data Ownership in Digital Transformation

The Importance of Data Ownership in Digital Transformation

Derek Morgen

Digital Marketing Expert

In an era where information is the new currency, data ownership is pivotal for any chemical business. Digital transformation is amplifying the need to protect and control their assets.

Chemical businesses that own their data in the digital domain own the user experience and, ultimately, the customers. It gives prospects and partners the information to make informed decisions and their teams the ability to move faster with accuracy.

To help chemical businesses improve their digital transformation process, this blog outlines the importance of data ownership and what to look for when building a digital presence.

Challenges chemical companies face with their online presence

Chemical companies face numerous challenges in enhancing their online presence:

  1. The complex nature of chemical products makes it difficult to effectively communicate their benefits and uses to customers, leading to a suboptimal online user experience and hinders customer engagement.

  2. Ensuring data security is a constant challenge when dealing with sensitive data, both in terms of proprietary product information and customer data.

  3. The rapidly evolving digital landscape means that chemical companies must continually update their digital strategies to stay ahead. 

These challenges require significant investment and a deep understanding of technological developments and market trends.

Understanding digital data ownership

For chemical companies, digital data ownership implies the company has the exclusive authority to manage, use, disclose, and delete this data. It's an aspect chemical companies must consider as they navigate their digital strategies, given the sensitive and proprietary nature of much of the information they handle.

Exploring the types of digital data relevant to the chemical industry

Numerous types of digital data warrant attention in the chemical industry, and their careful management forms the bedrock of a robust digital strategy.

  1. Product information and specifications: These include detailed descriptions of chemical products, their uses, properties, and technical specifications. This data is critical for marketing and sales, research and development, and quality assurance.

  2. Safety data sheets and compliance information: This involves crucial safety instructions, handling guidelines, and hazard information relating to chemical substances. It includes information about the company’s compliance with environmental, health, and safety regulations, which is vital for safety in operations, informing customers, and meeting regulatory requirements.

  3. Customer data and preferences: This encompasses information about customers' identities, contact details, purchase histories, preferences, and feedback. This data segment drives sales, marketing efforts, and customer service initiatives. It also aids in predicting future trends and tailoring products to meet customer needs.

Understanding each type of data that needs to be protected is vital to ensuring successful digital data ownership, management, and protection.

Who owns the digital data in the chemical industry?

Generally, the companies are recognized as the primary owners of their data, meaning any data collected, generated, or processed by the company is considered its intellectual property.

However, with the increasing use of technology partners, principles, external sales teams, and distributors in the chemical industry, data ownership becomes more complicated. 

In most cases, these partners may also have access to and collect data related to a company's products or operations.

Therefore, your chemical company needs to establish clear agreements on data ownership and usage rights with external partners to avoid any potential conflicts or disputes.

Importance of digital data ownership

The importance of digital data ownership in the chemical industry cannot be overstated.

Owning digital data and IP allows chemical companies to safeguard product formulations and other proprietary information. By having complete control over their data, companies prevent unauthorized access or theft of sensitive information by competitors or malicious actors.

In today's digital world, data privacy and compliance regulations are increasingly stringent. Leveraging the right data management tools, businesses control how and when their data is shared with external parties, ensuring compliance with confidentiality agreements or industry-specific regulations.

Strategies for Effective Digital Data Ownership

To effectively manage data ownership in the chemical industry, companies need to implement a comprehensive strategy that includes the following elements.

Developing data governance policies and procedures

Establishing clear roles and responsibilities
: The first step in developing effective data governance is to establish clear roles and responsibilities for data management. This involves specifying who within the organization is responsible for various data tasks, such as data creation, data quality control, and data security.

Implementing data quality control measures:
Data quality control measures should be put in place to ensure the accuracy and consistency of data. This includes regular data audits, data validation processes, and data cleansing techniques.

Ensuring data consistency across platforms:
In today’s digital landscape, it is essential to ensure data consistency across different platforms and systems. This is achieved using standardized data platforms.

Utilizing data management solutions and platforms

Product Information Management Systems:
A crucial part of an effective data ownership strategy involves using Product Information Management (PIM) systems. They serve as a centralized hub for managing product data, ensuring all product information and documentation is accurate, up-to-date, and consistent across multiple sales channels. A robust PIM system will also indicate when information has been viewed, changed, or updated, providing a complete audit trail of data changes.

CRM Systems for Effective Data Management:
CRM systems collect and centralize customer data from multiple sources, enabling personalized experiences and stronger customer relationships. They offer sales and marketing teams valuable insights for strategic decisions and data quality enhancement, making them a vital part of customer engagement and, therefore, data governance.

Customer Portals:
As digital customers expect to interact with businesses online, customer portals have become an increasingly important part of the customer experience. They provide customers with a secure, personalized, and convenient way to access their data and interact with the businesses they do business with. It’s critical to work with providers who safeguard your data as you lead with your brand.

Prioritize data ownership when selecting a vendor:
Selecting the right platform for your chemical business requires adequate due diligence. Third-party marketplaces offer broad exposure and customer reach. However, these platforms use your product data, limiting your control. You often have no say in how the data is presented or used, leading to inconsistencies in your product information across different platforms. Data security is a growing concern with third-party marketplaces as they access your product and customer engagement data.

In contrast, a white-label solution presents the advantage of full data ownership. With a white-label platform, you retain complete control over your data, its presentation, and its use while ensuring data consistency across all channels. White-label solutions provide greater data security, as you have full authority over who has data access. 

Prioritizing data ownership to maintain control, consistency, and integrity of your data while providing the tools to expand online is essential when choosing technology vendors for your digital presence.

Collaborating with external partners

Data sharing agreements and partnerships:
In digitization, harnessing the power of data extends beyond the confines of an organization. Collaborative data-sharing agreements and partnerships with external vendors, suppliers, and research institutions significantly improve the value of data. These agreements allow chemical companies to access a broader spectrum of data, gain unique insights, and nurture innovation.

Facilitated through standardized protocols and secure platforms, these partnerships ensure data privacy and integrity. Moreover, they foster a culture of collective growth and knowledge sharing, driving industry-wide advancements. Thus, data-sharing agreements and partnerships form an integral element of a comprehensive data governance strategy.

Ensuring data security and compliance:
With data being the most valuable asset for chemical companies, security and compliance are paramount. The sensitive nature of customer information, trade secrets, and intellectual property associated with the chemical industry makes it a prime target for cyber-attacks and data breaches.

Implementing robust cybersecurity measures, including firewalls, encryption, access controls, and regular audits, is key to safeguarding data.

Continuous monitoring and improvement:
In the dynamic digital landscape, data governance is an ongoing process. Regular audits, risk assessments, and agile methodologies will identify vulnerabilities, improve data governance, and keep you updated with evolving technologies and regulations.

Supporting employee buy-in:
Success in data governance hinges on organization-wide involvement, including all employees. Regular training programs are essential for employees to grasp their responsibilities in upholding data integrity, privacy, and security while complying with regulations.

Taking care of your chemical business data heading into 2024

As we move into the digital age, the chemical industry is embracing online platforms for business operations. Consequently, ownership and control of digital data have become paramount. Owning your digital data allows for strategic decision-making, fuels innovation, and provides a competitive advantage in the market.

As we look to 2024 and beyond, data ownership should be at the heart of every chemical company's digital strategy, underscoring the need for robust data governance measures in place to protect and leverage this valuable asset.

The Agilis Way

At Agilis, we understand that implementing data governance challenges chemical companies when digitizing their product data and commercial operations. Our team of experts has decades of experience in the industry and understands the unique challenges of managing sensitive data in the digital realm.

We've built our platform for the chemical industry with robust, enterprise-grade data governance capabilities to ensure the protection and accuracy of your digital data while maintaining complete ownership of your data.

So, if you're ready to expand your digital presence and safely digitize your chemical business, we have the tools and expertise to help you take charge of your data and drive success in the ever-evolving chemical landscape:

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