Data Ethics, Customer 360 and Thoughts on COVID-19, a Q&A with Bremer Bank

Avatar photo Team Zaloni April 1st, 2020

Data ethics, privacy and security are critical when dealing with customer 360 initiatives. Today’s organizations face challenges with the ever-increasing volume and variety of customer data and with data sprawled across various environments and lines of business, making integrating and unifying data into customer 360 views challenging. 

Not only is data unification a challenge, ensuring that data is governed and secure is of pressing importance, especially as new laws and regulations are enforcing companies to recognize data ethics and handle customer data responsibly. 

The current COVID-19 crisis is another example of how sensitive customer or patient data can be. It’s important that companies have a solid data management and operations foundation to address unforeseen needs during times of crisis. 

We recently conducted a Q&A with Leilani Moll, VP of Data and Analytics Services at Bremer Bank, to ask her about Bremer Bank’s commitment to data ethics, especially when it comes to dealing with customer data: 

Zaloni: In your recent blog post, Digital Innovation Requires Data Modernization, you mention how data ethics should be your compass. Tell us more.

Leilani Moll: Data ethics encapsulates everything from capturing, storing, and sharing to destroying data. We only capture what we need, we only store what we need (and in as few places as possible), and we only share what is required. We see everybody in the company as data stewards.

At Bremer, we never sell our customers’ data to a third party for monetary gain. In fact, I can’t stand the phrase “Monetizing Data,” regardless of what it’s being used to describe. The lack of ethical controls on data have time and again led to new laws and regulations to officially govern data usage, two recent examples being GDPR and CCPA. 

Zaloni: It sounds like ethically handling customer data is the moral compass that guides Bremer’s approach to data management. Given that, how do you balance the privacy and security of customer data with the need to use it for Bremer’s sales and marketing success?

Leilani Moll: The key is to maintain trust and integrity with your customer base. In order to do this, working with permissioned, relevant data, not a massive data hoard, will lead to better results. 

Through targeted customer interviews, we have developed a lot of customer insights without invasive data gathering on the whole customer base. 

Using this permission-based interview data we collect, along with the data gathered from our disparate systems, we are adopting a DigitalTwin approach for model development to safeguard sensitive customer information.

Zaloni: You’re working on a project, using Zaloni to build customer golden records. Can you give others in your role some advice on where to start? What are some of the first steps you recommend?

Leilani Moll: Building a Golden Customer Record is no different than tackling any business objective you intend to solve using data. It starts with the business objective and, in this case, delivering a unified view of the customer. Then you simply follow the seven-step DataOps process. 

From a technology standpoint, don’t let the complexity of a technology platform get in your way. Select a platform that is easy to use so you can focus on the outcome and not on the mechanics. The best thing about Hadoop is that it lets you do pretty much anything you want. Ironically, that is also the bad thing about Hadoop. You will want a data management platform with data governance capabilities embedded in the platform. This also reduces your dependence on highly technical staff. Remember to engage individuals with excellent business knowledge right from the start.  

Zaloni: Lastly, has the current COVID-19 crisis had any impact on Bremer Bank, especially related to your data management approach?

Leilani Moll: We have been fortunate. The data operations we set up prior to COVID-19, which was dispersed, communicative and technologically-enabled, has resulted in relatively little impact for our data management. Leveraging virtual collaboration platforms is second nature to how we work.

On April 22, 2020, Zaloni’s CEO Susan Cook will host a webinar with Leilani to dive deeper into how Bremer Bank leverages a customer-centric DataOps approach when building golden customer records that support their customer 360 and data ethics mission. 

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about the author

This team of authors from Team Zaloni provide their expertise, best practices, tips and tricks and use cases across varied topics incuding: data governance, data catalog, dataops, observability, and so much more.