"How do we accelerate the new digital solutions while simultaneously increasing data control?"

- Every CXO, everywhere

The Data Collaboration Alliance is a member of the Technical Committee for Zero-Copy Integration, a national standard being developed by the CIO Strategy Council of Canada an accredited agency of the Standards Council of Canada.

We also work with national and international standards organizations to support the evaluation and adoption of Zero-Copy Integration in jurisdictions around the globe.


Zero-Copy Integration defines a data-centric framework for the design and delivery of new digital solutions with autonomous data and the collaborative approach to problem-solving.

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Decouple data from applications
(manage as network not silos)

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Govern datasets as 'Products' (aka Data Mesh)

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Prioritize Active Metadata over complex code

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Access-based collaboration,
not copy-based integration

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Set access controls at data-level, not in app code

Zero-Copy Integration standard

Design for solution modularity (aka enterprise composability)


The traditional approach to data sharing and data integration is a complex and risky process where information is copied between data silos (databases, data warehouses, data lakes, spreadsheets etc). 


This has the following impacts on Data Governance and Data Protection:


  • Universal enforcement of data access is extremely difficult, if not impossible

  • Deletion of data (right to be forgotten) is extremely difficult, if not impossible

  • Porting of data from one environment to another is extremely difficult

  • Precision audits of data usage are extremely difficult, if not impossible


For organizations large and small, these issues present significant challenges for compliance with increasingly strict Data Protection regulations and this is where the strategic need for Zero-Copy Integration is most notable.


Zero-Copy Integration provides a framework for organizations to shift the management and operationalization of data from silos to copy-less environments that support universally-enforced access controls.


When we stop making copies of things, we gain the ability to control and protect their value.

In principle, this approach is similar to how societies around the World already protect currency, intellectual property, and personal identity - and it works for data, too.

It is worth noting that this does not equate to the position that data ownership should be treated as a property right versus a human right, but only that CONTROL is a necessary pre-condition for meaningful data ownership under any legal or moral paradigm.


In addition to the negative implications for data ownership and regulatory compliance, the current copy-based approach to data sharing and data integration represents a significant “innovation tax” on the World's capacity to deliver new technology.


Each new digital solution (whether bought or built) generates a new data silo in the form of an app-specific database. The new silo almost always requires some level of point-to-point integration with pre-existing silos and this creates a compounding inefficiency.


Data fragmentation and copy-based data integration is an unproductive use of capital and resources that is growing exponentially worse. 


In contrast, the proposed standard for Zero-Copy Integration outlines a framework for developing new digital solutions where people and systems collaborate on data within a copy-less environment.


This framework can also be used as a blueprint for the design of 'transient' data models that can power unlimited solutions from a single set of physical data (rather than copies).


In the Zero-Copy Integration framework, the only barrier to developing a new digital solution is being granted access to data from its owner - the overhead of traditional copy-based data integration is eliminated. 


This alone has the potential to increase the efficiency of virtually every IT organization in the World by double-digit percentages.


The Data Collaboration Alliance provides briefings on the Zero-Copy Integration framework and is able to facilitate introductions between national and international standards and regulatory bodies.

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