It’s time to update your data strategy: Data as an asset

The humble trends prediction is an editorial mainstay of many a tech industry publication. And when it comes to big predictions, few claim as much real estate as big data.

In December 2014, Forbes’ Gill Press set his six predictions for the $125 billion big data analytics market live. From salability of security to the new wave of visual asset data, there was one point that stood out: “Buying and selling data will become the new business bread and butter.”

100% of large organizations will purchase external data by 2019

Press writes,

70% of large organizations already purchase external data and 100% will do so by 2019. In parallel, more organizations will begin to monetize their data by selling them or providing value added content.

It’s striking in its simplicity. While the big-data-hype machine may buzz deafeningly with the Internet of Things (IoT) and the race for hyper-personalization, the bare-bones economy of Press’s words is striking.

As Press says, most large organizations are already purchasing third-party data. And the concept of sharing data has been thoroughly popularized through public projects like the Australian Government’s own, which currently hosts more than 20,000 data sets. This government-accrued data has been used on projects as diverse as cloud-based API address verification to coastal-climate risk management.

For organizations large and small collecting some data of their own, the next step is to explore the shelf-life of the information they’re recording. DaaS (data as a service) gives businesses the opportunity to sell a single dataset multiple times or exclusively at a premium. It also gives governments, non-government organizations (NGOs) and businesses an opportunity to exchange donated data for a greater social good.

We know that innovation can spark from a single nugget of code, feedback or statistic. The ‘ah-ha’ moment that sets in motion a new range of mental health services, a better path for our transport system or a new business model may not exist in the data in our possession. But it may exist in another’s. And that’s what makes your data a valuable commodity.

Bankrolling innovation through data monetization

Increasingly data owners are feeling fettered by the great caveat of big data – your own data is just not that big. Your organization is restricted by the pinhole view you have of your customer. With consumers only spending a tiny proportion of their day with any brand or organization, service providers, marketers and governments are all limited in the scope of the people who use or rely on them.

And it’s not as if a comprehensive view and understanding of that tiny amount of time comes easy. A strategic organizational approach to data requires investment in governance, analysis and integration. As such, it’s only logical that the next step in the big data journey is full data liquidity.

The exchange of data in a secure marketplace environment provides organizations with an opportunity to harness their full potential. Whether sold in analyzed or raw sets, data liquidity fuels business strategy – with both the prospect for financial and intelligence support.

Overcoming executive trepidation and customer fears

For organizations to comfortably accept data as currency and for consumers to not feel their information is being sold off against their will, data leads have some work to do.

Both involve selling how expanded data access can give rise to enterprising ideas and better service delivery. As Esmeralda Swartz says in a Dataconomy blog: “In a data-driven IoT world, behavioral data can be used to design and fine tune public policies and services. Of course, threats to personal privacy (a la Big Brother) have to be addressed for big data to live up to its full potential.”

Clear regulation and policies around data anonymization are necessary, as is a secure platform for marketplace exchange. This gives corporate, government and NGOs an opportunity to really embrace the data economy. In other words, if you want to capitalize on data liquidity, then you’ll need to make the organizational decision to install the architecture and governance required to ensure your stakeholders – specifically your customer, clients and service users – feel comfortable. People need to be confident that their data is being exchanged in an anonymized and ethical way, and that supplying their data will improve their lives in measurable ways.

The data your business collects from its customers is one of its key strategic assets. This means that businesses should lift their collection game, and also begin thinking about data as a currency. Through using ethical data exchange platforms like Data Republic, your business can enhance its knowledge of its customer base, as well as lay the foundation for future growth by bankrolling its future organizational needs.

Learn more about becoming part of Data Republic’s data exchange ecosystem.

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