Data - Building blocks for the new world

Data, when analysed in its entirety, can yield unique and powerful insights which can benefit the business immensely

Thomson Reuters
Published: 11, Oct 2017

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In today’s world, infrastructure refers not only to roads, buildings and bridges, but also to data. Right from using application-based maps to planning everyday travel, to taking important business decisions and fighting against modern-day slavery, trusted data has become the lifeblood of the industry.

Data, when analysed in its entirety, can yield unique and powerful insights which can benefit the business immensely. It’s no coincidence that global unicorns such as Facebook and Amazon, and even our home grown giants such as Flipkart, InMobi and Ola have leveraged data such as users’ details, behavior and preferences for growing their business by leaps and bounds. The time is now rife for businesses and governments to tap into the immense potential of trusted data and leverage this in the right way and with the right tools to stay competitive.

Let us look at some areas where data can give you a definite edge:
Proactive risk management
One of the biggest challenges that many economies including India are grappling with is deep-rooted red tapism and corruption, which impacts the ease of doing business in a big way. Corporations too are dealing with multiple challenges viz. stricter regulations, compliance requirements, cut-throat competition, and many more exposing them to various risks. Having the right data tools and capabilities can help them preempt and address these risks. Trusted data can help them run an enhanced due diligence on all partners, suppliers and other stakeholders to proactively be able to mitigate associated risks. There are a number of existing data resources that the government and corporations can tap into, to track companies as well as individuals and their ecosystem. These databases can be used effectively to flag off ‘risky’ entities, Politically Exposed People (PEP) or individuals with a history of financial crime. In addition to this, such data pools can also be used to track any ongoing litigation/ cases against companies and individuals, thereby giving a holistic view of the entity they are engaging with. Unearthing corruption is usually limited not by the lack of data, but by the difficulty in comprehending the true meaning and connections in the data as a whole. A periodic check leveraging connected data can help them be informed about who they are liasoning with, and facilitate ease of doing business.

GST implementation
If we look specifically at India, apart from the perspective of managing risk, trusted data is also pivotal in ensuring the success of the transformational GST law. A robust data-based tax infrastructure will make transitioning to the new tax regime seamless for corporations and other businesses.

ESG analysis
Internationally, environmental, social and governance (ESG) factors are playing a key role in facilitating fundamental country credit analysis. We are living in times when responding to issues like climate change and executive remuneration can be as important as traditional financial metrics, when evaluating corporate performance. Issues such as diversity, human rights, business ethics and corporate governance are at the forefront of public and political attention, and investors are increasingly differentiating their priorities using ESG criteria. Given this, trusted data can be of immense value for investors to assess a country’s or corporation’s ESG health and commitments, and help them make informed decisions.

At a time when the government is looking to expedite its key projects and initiatives, and corporate India is grappling with risks ranging from regulatory to geopolitical, leveraging on trusted data will pave the way for an effective and efficient way of doing business. Thinking data by design is the need of the hour.

- By Pradeep Lankapalli, Managing Director, South Asia, Thomson Reuters

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