Melbourne takes leading role in data governance revolution

In a world where data governance looms as one of the bedrocks of a strong digital economy, Victoria is set to be at the forefront of advances.

Successful technology companies such as REA GroupSeekCarSales.comWebjet and Computershare call Victoria home and are helping to create a data hotspot – in turn attracting like companies such as Splunk and Alibaba which find the state’s regulatory environment around privacy, transparency and data security business friendly.

Melbourne’s Docklands is emerging as Victoria’s tech, data and cyber hub. With the addition of Data Governance Australia, the Association for Data-driven Marketing and Advertising (ADMA) and the Institute for Analytics Professionals Australia (IAPA), Victoria’s capabilities are on show and are a magnet to international technology companies looking for a base where integrity and security of their data are of paramount importance.

Business is increasingly appreciating the potential benefits of data for marketing, customer acquisition and post-sale servicing, with a recent survey by technology research firm Gartner revealing that 75% of respondents have invested or plan to significantly invest in big data in the next couple of years.

According to IBM Watson Client Experience Centre in Melbourne, most data is not analysed or used and is currently considered to be ‘unstructured data ‘ – that is texts, images and social media, representing a massive 80% of the world’s data. The potential value this data brings to businesses is only just being understood.

Government takes lead

The national data governance institute, Data Governance Australia is based in Melbourne and underlines Victoria’s status as a hub for cyber security. The not-for-profit organisation promotes effective governance and the responsible use of data, while it also helps devise and implement a regulatory framework for businesses and the community.

Chair Graeme Samuel says Data Governance Australia plays a key role in assisting businesses to self-regulate their use of data. Its work complements broader government legislation related to cyber security and data breaches.

“This is now becoming a very topical issue,” Samuel says. “Almost daily, we are seeing issues of cyber security raising its head.

“The development of a code of practice for businesses’ use of data is one of Data Governance Australia’s most important tasks. The appropriate management of the collection, use, integrity and security of data must be on the radar for businesses of all sizes. Businesses crave good reliable data but also recognise that integrity and security of that data is imperative”, Samuel said.

“If businesses don’t get in place protocols then the community will say, ‘Stop, I don’t want to give you this information’.”

In addition to endorsing Data Governance Australia, the State Government has also worked with the Association of Data-Driven Marketing & Advertising (ADMA) to bring the headquarters of Australia’s national representative body for analytics professionals, Institute of Analytics Professionals Australia (IAPA) to Melbourne.

More than 100 businesses have already indicated they want to be part of Data Governance Australia including Qantas, Woolworths, Coles, Westpac and the Scentre Group.

Philip Dalidakis  says the clever use of data sets and technology can create new businesses and help existing businesses better understand threats and opportunities.

“We want businesses in Victoria to be taking the opportunities that are arising in the new digital economy.”

It is estimated that the state’s digital economy will be worth $50.8 billion by 2020. This is why the Victorian Government’s Information Technology Strategy for 2016 to 2020, aims to make government information and data open, transparent and available to businesses and entrepreneurs for their own purposes.

Julian Hebden, Chief Data Officer, Victoria’s Centre for Data Insights, Department of Premier and Cabinet, says “data and information are the currency of government and assist with the delivery of services, decision-making and policy development. Therefore, it’s important that it is of high quality, accurate, managed and stored well,” he says.

Big data, big prospects

Hosting world class data events such as the inaugural Melbourne Business Analytics Conference and Datathon, an initiative of Melbourne Business School, helps brand Victoria as a major global data hub and Melbourne as Australia’s top tech city.

The ability to attract the best events in the data analytics industry is indicative of Melbourne’s status as Australia’s Top Tech City – a mantle conferred upon Melbourne recently by Savill’s Research (March 2017) partly for its growth in and focus on data analytics, data mining and visualisation.

Victoria’s data capabilities are supported by a strong education base. Institutions such as Box Hill TAFERMITDeakin University and Swinburne University produce quality work-ready graduates.

These data capabilities and the vibrancy of Victoria’s tech ecosystem will be on show during the 2017 Digital Innovation Festival from 23 August – 6 September.