2020 Data Impact Award Winner Spotlight: Merck KGaA

The Data Security and Governance category, at the annual Data Impact Awards, has never been so important. Consider for a moment, just how much 2020 brought about for businesses to deal with. The sudden rise in remote working, a huge influx in data as the world turned digital, not to mention the never-ending list of regulations businesses need to remain compliant with (how many acronyms can you name in full? GDPR, CCPA, HIPAA.) Finally, throw in the constant stream of cyberthreats out there and it’s clear that protecting your enterprise’s data is vital. But there are organizations that are already ahead of the game when it comes to Security and Governance, and they were recognized and celebrated in our seventh category of the Awards this year. 

I had the pleasure of introducing this year’s finalists, streaming on video, of course, live from my garden shed at home. Which was appropriate as we discussed a category that embodies the sudden and seismic step-change in how many of our customers are operating. As mentioned in my previous blog on the topic, the recent shift to remote working has seen an increase in conversations around how data is managed. Many businesses now need to achieve free and open data access in order to derive value and improve efficiencies as they navigate the ‘new norm’ — whether that’s involved working from a home office, or the garden shed. Toolsets and strategies have had to shift to ensure controlled access to data. At the same time, the need to have a strong layer of security and governance is being highlighted. This is what really stood out about the finalists of the Data Security and Governance category. These customers have embedded security and governance throughout their entire data and analytics lifecycle by design. They presented incredible use cases to our judges, shining a spotlight on the valuable insights they are gathering, safe in the knowledge that they will not have to redirect resources and energy into retrofitting security and governance at a later date. 

The organization that became the well-deserved winner of our Data Security and Governance category this year, is Merck KGaA. Read on to find out exactly what it was about Merck KGaA’s story that caught the judges’ attention and earned them the title of this year’s winner. 

Data security and governance champions – Merck KGaA

Based in Germany, Merck KGaA is one of the leading science and technology companies, operating across healthcare, life science, and performance materials business areas. Employing around 57,000 people, it works to make a positive difference to millions of people’s lives every day. From advancing gene-editing technologies and discovering unique ways to treat the most challenging diseases, to enabling the intelligence of devices. Merck KGaA’s work is fueled by the belief in science as a force for good, to enhance the human experience and create more joyful and sustainable ways to live. 

Crucial to Merck KGaA’s success is the ability to access and utilize data from across the enterprise that is GxP regulated and qualified. However, it was precisely this — being (and staying) GxP qualified — that was proving to be a major challenge for the company. Without meeting GxP compliance, the Merck KGaA team could not run the enterprise data lake needed to store, curate, or process the data required to inform business decisions. This had a direct impact on the analytics initiatives and use cases of most of the teams throughout the business, including research and development and manufacturing and quality domains, which relied heavily on analytic insight from their data to drive business success. 

Underpinning everything with security and governance

Merck KGaA’s advanced analytics team had the solution. It established a data governance framework within its enterprise data lake. Powered and supported by Cloudera, this framework brings together disparate data sources, combining internal data with public data, and structured data with unstructured data. In turn, this created a place for Merck KGaA to discover, analyze, store, mine, and govern relevant data, which is then utilized for advanced analytics and to uncover insights used to fuel the life-altering work Merck KCaA carries out. Unlike other data management systems, in which users can only interact with dashboards and reports while data sits in the background, users in Merck KGaA’s data lake can interact directly with the data and gain the new insights needed to make accurately informed decisions. 

One of the key components within Merck KGaA’s governance framework is the ability to capture information on the enterprise data being collected, for example, the date and time the data was created. Subsequently, this ensures comprehensive data security and compliant data access management across the entire enterprise data ecosystem. Merck KGaA can successfully manage data access based on geo-location, resource, and also customized tags, by setting permission policies for its employees. This access and control management ensures that people of different roles, in different countries, departments or even different business units can only access datasets in line with their profile — something which is vital for ensuring Merck KGaA remains compliant with GxP regulations.

Driving innovation with secure and governed data 

Since establishing this data governance framework within its enterprise data lake, Merck KGaA can successfully meet regulatory compliance. It can also prevent unauthorized data access, decrease operational costs, and greatly increase business agility for multiple users. As a result of the framework, the Merck KGaA team can now more effectively perform fraud detection, inventory management, operational compliance, and scientific data management. With all these benefits of the framework, the team is able to focus on utilizing the Cloudera platform to analyze and harness data, giving them the insights needed to drive quality control and life-saving clinical research – all with the knowledge that they are remaining secure and compliant with regulations. 

It is with huge amounts of pride that we were able to award Merck KGaA as the winners this year and we think you’ll agree they are incredibly worthy of the title. In today’s fast-paced business world, keeping up with data security and governance is critical and, as demonstrated by Merck KGaA, there are huge benefits to be gained if this is done right. 

If you’ve been inspired by the work of Merck KGaA and would like to see your company gain recognition for the steps it’s taken in data security and governance, please do get in touch with your account manager who can give you all the details for our Data Impact Awards 2021. We’d love to see your entry! If you’d like to find out more about this year’s awards, the judges, and the winners please visit: https://www.cloudera.com/about/customers/data-impact-awards.html 

Wim Stoop
Director Product Marketing
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