The Zen of Work: DATA
Data and Data Management
With “Holly” on a mission to take control of her work situation – aiming to instil a feeling of Zen in her workspace – she has come to us seeking answers.
And we are happy to oblige Holly. As always.
She has heard a lot of talk recently about “data”. Something she read about briefly in AJS’s article Top 7 Legal Tech Trends for 2022. But if she was being honest, data is such a broad topic, something she kind of understands but does not really know what the whole “hoopla” is about. Why is data so important? What is data?
Holly found herself feeling quite out of her depth and worried that she was perhaps missing a vital part of protecting her practice.
But she has no clue where to even begin.
Fear not Holly, we got you!
What is Data?
According to the Oxford Dictionary, data is defined as
“a set of facts, stats or statistics collected for reference or analysis”.
In more complex terms, data (according to TechTarget network), is “information that has been translated into a form that is efficient for movement or processing”.
With the use of various social media platforms (amongst other things), we are not only constantly collecting and sharing data (whether intentionally or not), but today’s digital economy has access to more data than ever before.
Data is therefore increasingly being seen as an asset that can be used to make more-informed business decisions, improve marketing campaigns, optimising business operations and reducing costs – all with the goal of increasing revenue and profits.
In fact, according to Oracle, “Data Capital is Business Capital” –
“In today’s digital economy, data is a kind of capital, an economic factor of production in digital goods and services. Just as an automaker can’t manufacture a new model if it lacks the necessary financial capital, it can’t make its cars autonomous if it lacks the data to feed the onboard algorithms. This new role for data has implications for competitive strategy as well as for the future of computing”.
And from what Holly can gleam – data is crucial to her business. And must be protected.
So that covers her question on “what is data?”.
But what then is data management?
Data management according to TechTarget is defined as –
“the process of ingesting, storing, organizing and maintaining the data created and collected by an organization. Effective data management is a crucial piece of deploying the IT systems that run business applications and provide analytical information to help drive operational decision-making and strategic planning by corporate executives, business managers and other end users.
The data management process includes a combination of different functions that collectively aim to make sure that the data in corporate systems is accurate, available and accessible. Most of the required work is done by IT and data management teams, but business users typically also participate in some parts of the process to ensure that the data meets their needs and to get them on board with policies governing its use”.
Similarly, Tableau defines data management as –
“the practice of collecting, organizing, protecting, and storing an organization’s data so it can be analysed for business decisions. As organizations create and consume data at unprecedented rates, data management solutions become essential for making sense of the vast quantities of data”.
Holly can therefore safely assume that data management involves the collection of data and securing it efficiently in order to serve her business but also to protect her client’s sensitive information (and data) at the same time.
Why is data and data management so important for Holly?
Given the central and mission-critical role of data, strong management practices and a robust management system are essential for every organization, regardless of size or type.
And whether Holly is aware of it or not, the legal industry is a treasure chest of data, from the information collected from clients, court documents, any form of legal document, to client lists, statutes and many more important and often confidential pieces of information.
Data therefore needs to be effectively managed by collecting, organising, protecting, maintaining and storing data (in a way that improves its reliability, scalability and security) so that it can be properly analysed for important business decisions. As organisations create and consume data, data management solutions become essential for making sense of vast quantities of data. And this needs to be done securely. Especially since it is considered a category of regulatory compliance obligations.
For enterprise legal functions that support or are also responsible for data protection, responses to this challenge go beyond the usual expectation of simply monitoring rules and drafting policies simply for compliance’s sake – because how data is actually managed (especially as lawyers) is absolutely critical.
Keeping in mind the Protection of Personal Information Act 4 of 2013 (or POPIA as it is often called), collecting, storing and securing data (and sensitive client information) has never been more relevant. Or more important. Furthermore, if Holly intends on working with or advising companies within the European Union, the General Data Protection Regulation (or GDPR) will find application. And this too relates to data protection and privacy of individuals and corporates alike within the European Union and the European Economic Area. The GDPR is a key component of EU privacy law and of human rights law.
Ensuring data is securely stored and is effectively protected from cyber-attacks should be a top priority.
And a priority Holly intends on taking seriously!
Work Zen is within reach
By approaching your service provider, like AJS, you can easily achieve a state of Work Zen in no time. By using your software package for what it is actually meant for (which is not just legal accounting) you can approach each day with a Zen-like peace knowing that everything is perfectly in its place. That everything is being managed and that all is fine.
Because you have the support and back-up to ensure that is the case.
There are a lot of attorneys who have the software packages in place but are just not sure how to fully use them, what everything does and how they can optimise their practice to ensure that it is performing with accuracy and reliability.
But, with the help of AJS, your practice (regardless of its size) can (and will) succeed.
We will continue going through tips, answering your FAQ’s, and providing you with information that will better equip the everyday user of legal tech, like you and like Holly, to achieve a state of Work Zen.
It’s all easy. If you know how… Just ask us.