Three ways data sharing depends on data interoperability

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By Hebberly Ahatlan


Data is one of the most critical aspects of doing business today. In fact, data is so valuable that it is estimated that the value of its monetization will reach $15.4 billion by 2030. While this data is valuable to those looking to monetize it, it is even more valuable to the companies who use it. 

However, the data is only valuable if it is useful. A company needs to manipulate the data and derive something from it. In order to make data more useful, data sharing and data interoperability need to work hand in hand. 

So, how do these factors work together? How does data sharing depend on data interoperability? Keep reading to find out 3 ways in which this is the case. 

Why is data sharing important?

Before jumping right into the ways in which data sharing and data interoperability impact each other, it is necessary to understand both terms. Otherwise, it is difficult to understand how they work together. 

Data sharing is a critical element of doing business. This is true when business occurs within a single company or when it occurs across multiple different companies. Without data sharing, the potential for mistakes and problems increases dramatically. 

In these situations, it is easy for one party to miss out on information that would help them. One of the other parties may not have even realized that this information would be helpful so they saw no reason to share it. However, if shared, it could have eliminated problems. 

Imagine a sales-focused company where the marketing team did extensive research on the product being sold yet failed to share this information with the company’s sales force. In this case, the company’s billboards and commercials will look great but the interactions between salespeople and their clients will go poorly. Simply sharing business data would have helped the entire company without costing them anything. 

There are numerous instances where this same maxim is true. After all, having more data available always gives a better picture of the situation. Data sharing makes this possible. 

Plus, in the modern age, the data-sharing process does not have to come at the expense of security. When multiple companies share data, they may want to make some of their data available to some companies but do not want all of it available to everyone. Data governance like this uses secure platforms that focus on protecting business data while also making it available to those who need it. 

How does data interoperability impact data sharing?

Now that the importance of data sharing is understood, it is important to understand how data interoperability works and how it impacts data sharing. 

Imagine building up the electrical grid to support a robust vehicle (EV) infrastructure throughout a city. Multiple different companies will work together on this one project. Information must be accessed and shared regarding the existing load and locations of power lines, substations, transformers, and more. Grid operators, grid planners, and partners would need to share accurate and up-to-date information so they could collaborate properly. Beyond the physical aspects of the project, other teams would need to communicate legal issues, another may be determining environmental impact, and multiple construction teams may be in charge of putting the whole thing together. 

These companies will all need to share data with each other in order to do their jobs. To do so, the data needs to be in a format that works for the programs and services each company uses. It needs to be able to jump from one company’s system to the next with ease, as delays in translating the data make the entire effort less effective. 

This is where things like data compliance and data interoperability come into play. By ensuring that the data is sharable and then making it available, these companies are able to work together in harmony. Plus, with the security provided by modern software, they ensure they are able to do so while protecting their own assets. 

This is just one example of how data interoperability impacts data sharing. With many different types of data out there, there are many different ways in which this data is able to interact. So, the possibilities for data interoperability and data sharing to support each other are plentiful. 

1. Interoperability allows faster data sharing

The world of business is a fast-paced world. Lost time leads to lost revenue and there are cases where only a slight loss of time leads to a large loss in revenue. This happens through missed opportunities, changes in the market, or any number of other reasons. 

This is why the ability to share data quickly is essential. If data sharing happens slowly, the people involved will have to delay making use of it. This leads to the problematic situations that were just mentioned. 

However, data sharing cannot be fast if the data is not interoperable. If one party has data but this data is not understood by another party, then time will have to go into transferring the data to a format that is understood. This takes time but, if it is not done, the data will not help. 

One example of this occurs in the world of transportation. GPS data, cell phone data, data from public transportation, and more are pieces of information regarding the real-time flow of people. This information is constantly created as people move about and make their way from one destination to another. 

Synthesizing all of this data gives a picture of transportation conditions that is vital to creating electric vehicle infrastructure. However, this data needs to be accurate and up-to-date, or it will not be a true representation of the situation. If the implemented infrastructure uses data that is flawed in such a way, the infrastructure will not accurately respond to the needs of the users and, thus, will be inefficient.

Interoperability allows data sharing to happen almost instantaneously. Everyone who has access to the data is able to make use of it as soon as they access it. The only factor that prevents this from being instantaneous is technical limits on actually accessing the data. 

2. Interoperability is necessary for digital data sharing

The world is clearly becoming more and more digital. This leads to software creating data on an almost constant basis. Because of this, one would imagine that this data would be easy to share. 

However, this is often not the case. Different programs will interpret data entirely differently. In many cases, data created by one program will be unable to work with another program. 

Imagine trying to open up a song file with an app designed for viewing photos. It simply would not work. This is because the programs are entirely different. 

An industry that is particularly susceptible to this is the healthcare industry. In this industry, data has the potential to make the industry safer, more effective, patient-centered, timely, efficient, and equitable. Changes like this would benefit everyone involved. 

However, sharing data across platforms in healthcare is difficult because the data is often very different. The data coming from one department of a hospital may be presented using a different format or using different programs from the data at another hospital or even at another department within the same hospital. In many cases, this leads to hospital employees having to re-input the data manually before being able to use it at all. 

This is where healthcare case management tools come into play. While every tool may have its challenges, modern healthcare case management software is built in such a way as to help solve the challenges mentioned above, which can translate into huge savings for a healthcare provider in terms of time.

This is why interoperability is so critical to sharing data over a digital format. Without it, data will need to be massively manipulated before it is able to be used. In some cases, it may not even be usable at all. 

3. Interoperability makes shareable data effective

Another way in which data sharing depends on interoperability is in the usability of the data. There are times when data is still usable from system to system, despite the fact that it is not interoperable. However, this data may not be very effective. 

This is true on the most basic level. If metric units are being fed into a program by one data source while imperial units are being fed into it by another source, the result will be a big mash-up of confusing and incorrect information. Issues like this are resolved where a common data model is used. As a result, information is understood by all parties the same way, whether that is for raw data, making final conclusions, or tracking ongoing trends. This is why places like the European Union have made an effort to unify all of the measurement units used from country to country. 

This is immediately applicable to any business operating across international borders, as units of measurement are not the only difference. Different countries have different ways of measuring data. This could mean different measurements, different equipment, or different ways for measuring standards, like safety or danger. 

It is even applicable on a more local basis. A company that measures everything in feet will be sending in different numbers than a company that measures everything in miles. These numbers need to be converted before they are usable.  

This has a big impact on the efficiency of a company. Any company dealing with data like this will face challenges.

For example, someone building an interstate that runs through a few different towns may have a surprisingly difficult time doing so. This is because the maps and information carried by one town may be entirely different from the maps and information carried by the next town. Synthesizing these into a usable format will take time and energy. 

Differences in record keeping between businesses and differences in programs between businesses will make the data from these businesses difficult to work with. This is negative for all of the parties involved. 

The relationship between data sharing and data interoperability

Both data sharing and data interoperability are important factors in conducting efficient and effective work. These factors are both important on their own but become even more important when used together. In situations where they are properly used and properly used together, they make a difference. 

If your business needs data solutions regarding data sharing and data interoperability, make sure to contact Intertrust to see how we can help you. 


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