Cross-posted from www.jlinc.com
This post sets out a vision for what could become a sustainable set of human-centric processes around the sourcing, management and use of personal data. Our context for doing so is that the current model for personal data management on The Internet is badly broken and has architectural limitations that are largely un-resolvable. That being the case, we believe that building capabilityon the side of the individual opens up the possibility of a more balanced, sustainable approach that moves beyond these architectural challenges.
This can best be explained via an example (using dummy organisations to illustrate).
So that’s eight separate records of Alice and her vehicle…. (there are actually several more but you get the point…). Eight records of the same thing does not feel like an efficient or environmentally-friendly architecture; and without a change in thinking this problem will only worsen as more ‘things’ get connected and move online or into apps. This architecture is the best we have available at present but has the following significant problems at lower levels of detail:
That is pretty much how things work with present silo-ed, client-server architectures; i.e. the basics get done; but the overall customer experience and thus engagement is typically poor. We can now do much better than that.
So how might that be improved upon in practice? We propose a model that we call ‘co-managing my data’. By that we mean that multiple parties gather together and agree to share and jointly manage one or more data records in which they have mutual interest (Apple Health is a good early example of this). The critical enabler for this new model is that the individual (Alice) has her own modern data management tools on her side and is the point of integration for the co-managed data. One could consider that pre-Internet, most people would have a filing cabinet or similar in which they kept their own records of their various supplier relationships. A Personal Data Management Service (of which there will be many forms) could be thought of as a 21st century upgrade for that filing cabinet. DataYogi is one example of such a service; we’ll use that to illustrate how co-managing my data can work in practice. There are many more such services emerging.
The visual below shows what looks like a web form, but is actually a control panel/ dashboard – the difference being that in this co-managed model, different data attributes are managed by different connected organisations. The critical points of note in this visual are:
In this co-managed model, each data attribute on the individual side is typically a hive of activity. The key underneath the visual gives an indication of just some of the meta-data gathered and made available for use:
Whilst radically different from the current modus operandi; the co-managed model offers advantages for the various stakeholders.
For the individual (Alice):
For the overall eco-system
The most obvious question at this stage is around how, where and when such a co-managed data eco-system might emerge. As ever this is difficult to predict with any certainty, but it is fair to say that the ‘when’ for that is much closer than ever due to a number of related factors:
As to how this eco-system will emerge… It is likely that the greatest area of alignment that could drive adoption will be around customer-supplier relationships around significant data generating assets, products and services. That is to say, the sweet spots for data co-management between customer and supplier are likely to be in customer-service scenarios within the context of existing relationships and in relation to products/ services that have data components (or better still multiple data components). For example, cars and their ever-extending telematics capabilities; pensions or investments with constantly updating valuations, other financial products such as mortgages, properties with their many and varied components, all with warranties, bills, contracts and service issues, travel/ trips with multiple components, and computing devices with their multiple, often opaque data feeds.
From Spring 2022 DataYogi will offer a base level service through which individuals can invite organisations into co-managed data relationships, and vice versa – organisations can invite their customer bases to engage in this way. If your organisation is interested in being an early participant in this eco-system then please get in touch at email@example.com.
 The precise technical nature of the personal data management capabilities built on the side of the individual will be many and varied and the subject of a separate paper. Genuine control, lack of lock-in and full transparency are a given; most likely and obvious components are decentralised identity, ultra-modern approaches to data management, and software agents/ automation. Standards in all of these areas are beginning to emerge, and will solidify through this decade.