RevOps Strategy

Why Zero Trust Doesn’t Work For Ops Teams

Over the past few weeks, we've talked about the dangers of corporate retail therapy and its facilitation of SaaS sprawl, as well as the struggles of the modern-day Ops pro. What we haven't yet discussed is how this all ends up working out for the business. And let me tell you, the picture isn't a great one.

A few years ago, a new term started to make the rounds in cybersecurity: Zero Trust. It essentially means instead of inherently trusting — at least a little — users within corporate systems, you instead make that user earn every bit of trust. In essence, you give zero trust whenever a user requests to do anything within your company’s systems.

While it makes a lot of sense for keeping your corporate systems secure, it seems organizations have adopted the same thinking when it comes to their data. The inherent trust in data we may have once had is gone, and we greet each new stat and dashboard with only skepticism. And I don’t think it’s a good thing.

Don’t get me wrong — especially as a staunch supporter of playing devil’s advocate to avoid groupthink — blindly accepting anything that’s presented as fact is downright dangerous. But the levels of data distrust seen across organizations today only stifles business growth.

Zero (data) trust

The results from a recent survey we conducted with RevGenius paint a pretty grim picture. 96% of C-levels don’t completely trust the data in their GTM dashboards and reports. This means that for many organizations, every report, every forecast, and every decision made is tinged with doubt. Even 1 in 3 Ops pros — the ones spending countless hours cleaning and managing corporate data — have their doubts that the data presented to the C-suite isn’t accurate.

Meme of animated man in suit with text overlay

Unfortunately, the ops pros aren’t alone. In fact, 86% of our survey respondents didn’t have complete confidence that the data they access in the systems they use matches data in other corporate systems. For example, they don’t trust that the data in the CRM matches the data in the MAP.

All this distrust has left organizations to only one conclusion: give data zero trust until proven otherwise.

Current methods are failing us

All this doom and gloom isn’t meant to only instill fear. Organizations have made efforts to brighten the data landscape. Master data management (MDM), for instance, began from a desire to establish a “master” version of a piece of data and ensure duplicates — wherever they’re stored — are accurate.

But, as we all know, MDM is dead. And honestly, the idea of a “single source of truth”, one of MDM’s main components, also needs to die a quick death. Organizations shouldn’t be funneling all their data into one location. More often than not, dumping data into a warehouse for clean-up and analysis effectively creates just another data silo.

Distributed truth is the way

So what is the path forward? I believe it’s distributed truth. Here’s my thinking:

Since modern corporations are more data-driven than ever, the increasingly high levels of data distrust present a particular problem. Given the results of our survey, we can make 3 conclusions:

  • The foundation on which company data has been built is too complex;
  • Operations professionals are spending their time simply fixing data in disparate systems instead of executing on strategic initiatives, and;
  • The organization doesn’t even trust what’s provided.

Rather than try to continue to beat our heads against the proverbial wall with the same old tactics, it’s time for a new age of working with data. Instead of passing what may be garbage data into yet another silo, focus on empowering your operations professionals. Enable them to identify good data, clean and enhance it in motion, and then distribute it to everywhere your organization needs it. With the right tools (ahem, Syncari), it’s far easier to manipulate the data than it is to change a person.

Star Wars meme related to distributed data

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