CEO Blog

Data is for the Good

Data is to a business or to an individual, as blood is to the body. Its foundation: Trust. Banish data, or the trust to protect it, and the world falls apart: all commerce would cease; bank accounts would have zero balances; planes would fall out of the sky; cars would halt in their tracks; power and water would stop flowing. Data, business and life are inseparable, and as indispensable as water, air and electricity. More profoundly, data and systems are so advanced that we can begin to see our human and cognitive form in our own digital data trails. Every day we are building, brick by brick and bit by bit, a digital copy of ourselves, whether we are aware of it or not. This topic is personal, and now, inalienable from the human condition.

Data breaches, thefts, and manipulations are headline news today and will not be going away anytime soon. Also, the nature of the data has changed, as today’s data goes well beyond what you can find in the phone book of a decade ago. In this Digital era, your modern (phone book-like) data now includes your behaviors (friends list, what you read, pictures, a recording of all your phone calls, etc).

What is the real difference when a bad actor steals 135 million people’s data from a credit aggregator or when a social media company sells 85 million people’s data to a political consulting firm? The actors are different, but the consumer impact is the same. Trust is broken and your data is used for the bad.

OpenText™ would like to offer a radical idea: that “Data is for the Good”. And, that it needs to transcend people, organizations, companies, and nation states—to improve businesses and the world. This is not marketing; it is a new way of working and a new way of thinking. It starts with the premise that you own your data and it is not for sale. You can trust OpenText. We will never sell your data, and we advocate that data is for the good. Our opinion has been forged through 25 years of experience and over 1 Exabyte of data under our management.

“Data is for the Good” can be present in many forms. First, we can utilize data and insights to unlock the potentials of people. We can also use data to produce a more educated world by increasing college or trade degrees. On the world stage, data can be used to eliminate extreme poverty and eradicate diseases. “Data is for the Good” is also present in building the world’s best businesses and can be leveraged to help companies develop talent, build great products, as well as improve quality, safety and efficiencies for their customers.

“Data is for the Good” begins with big ideas for change. Let’s offer up three for today:

  1. Disrupting the Cycle of Incarceration
  2. Giving hope to those in Forced Displacement
  3. Curing diseases by Decoding DNA w/ 23 and me

I have been in the software/data industry for 30 years, and I can say with confidence, whether it be governments, individuals or businesses, when they entrust you with their data—their blood—it is job Number 1 to defend and protect that which is entrusted. This trust transcends your product or service. It is at the heart of your culture, ethics and purpose.

People have noticed that we turned off Facebook and have asked why. It is simple: the trust is broken. In good conscience, we cannot ask you to connect with us via their platform knowing they may use your data, and your colleagues’ and friends’ data, and so on, whether or not you gave them permission. Trusting and securing your data is something OpenText takes most seriously. It is time to advance the narrative, as we are championing trust as the foundation of data. It is an inalienable right, and “data is for the good.”

You own your data. No one should ever sell it.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's CEO & CTO. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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