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Four Forces Driving the Future of Data Collaboration

  • - LiveRamp
  • 4 min read

We began our blog series on the recent Winterberry Report by tracing the evolution of existing methods of data collaboration

In this second post, we’ll be digging into four critical forces driving the future of data collaboration:

  • Demands around privacy from regulators and consumers
  • Changing market conditions and the rise of retailer-driven marketplaces
  • New consumer opportunities and challenges
  • Greater organizational focus on data collaboration—both internal and external

These forces of change will favor the adaptable and responsive—those who seize the opportunity to develop strategies and build data foundations centered on delivering better customer experiences everywhere. Here’s what you should focus on.

Force 1: Privacy

The long-term outlook for privacy across the globe is still being written: legal definitions, consumer attitudes, and vendor solutions are all in flux. The future belongs to businesses that actively manage the evolving landscape—with transparency, accountability, and participate in regulatory conversations.


Expect exciting innovations in data foundation that enable secure, privacy-enhancing data collaboration. The new future-fit solutions must be flexible enough to enable businesses to change permission levels in response to new governmental regulations and individual collaborators’ requirements.

All this will be accompanied by an increasing willingness across the advertising ecosystem to engage with regulators to shape an environment that works for everyone. 

Force 2: Changing market conditions

Brands have long-standing data relationships with the “walled gardens” (so-called for their protectiveness of their extensive first-party data assets and deep consumer intelligence). But the tide has turned. Brands are realizing that they too can become media platforms: Target’s ad business, Roundel, is a prime example of this.


Brands and publishers will build their own data foundations, which in turn will lead to the creation of new media exchanges.

Force 3: New consumer opportunities and challenges

Continual change is the new normal, and brands need to adapt. Keeping up with consumers requires more data than any single entity has access to—including the kind of up-to-the-minute intelligence only dreamt of before.


Winning companies will move swiftly from insight to action, while remaining transparent about how they use consumer data. This in turn will foster greater trust and richer relationships with consumers.

Force 4: Organizational focus on data-driven analytics

There’s more awareness than ever that CMOs, CFOs, CIOs, and CISOs all have a stake in:

  • Building a data foundation that optimizes internal alignment, access to data, and decision making 
  • Supporting multiple lines of business with consistent consumer intelligence

Organizational silos are coming down as more companies recognize the value of leveraging cross-functional and inter-company data to uncover insights that can grow revenue—for example by aligning marketing strategies with supply chain optimization. 


The focus on data connectivity will drive the development of solutions that support internal and external data collaboration. Trust will be a big part of this. Expect to see privacy-enhancing technologies that help collaborators control access to data.

The race to grow rich—in data and insights

These forces of change provide exciting opportunities for reinvention and renewal. To navigate them successfully, brands will need to build their own data foundations, strengthen existing partnerships, and broker new ones.

The supporting technology for this kind of compliant, large-scale data collaboration already exists—to varying degrees—in what the Winterberry Report calls technical data environments: collaboration containers by neutral third parties that are “designed to facilitate the highest level of privacy and security when companies come together to partner.”

The best technical data environments excel at breaking down data silos and facilitating trust between collaborating partners, for example by:

  •   Giving them control over who sees the data and how it’s used
  •   Protecting directly identifiable personal data through pseudonymization and other privacy-enhancing technologies
  •   Ensuring that raw data cannot be copied or moved

These capabilities can help companies build more complete views of their audiences, close the loop across channels, optimize experiences, provide intelligence to marketing-adjacent teams, and so much more. The sky really is the limit when you can collaborate securely with any number of companies.

As Alice Stratton, our Global Managing Director for LiveRamp, puts it:

The greater opportunity for all brands—regardless of how much they spend with the walled gardens—is bringing together all of their data to create a single source of truth that they own and can continually enrich. This self-governed, secure data foundation [also known as a technical data environment] will prove invaluable to brands and their trusted partners, driving business growth in ways that were previously unimaginable.

This exciting future depends on trusted relationships between collaborators. However it can be challenging to list everything your company requires to achieve trust (as it’s likely to mean completely different things to different teams).

If building trust is something you’ve been wondering about, don’t miss our next post on the three keys that unlock trust and enable data collaboration to flourish. [Title of Blog 3, with link]

Meanwhile there’s a ton of insights on data collaboration waiting for you in the Winterberry Report: The Evolution of Identity in a Privacy-First, Post-Cookie World.