About a year ago I had a series of conversations with a major household name institution who had realized that there was this enormous untamed monster lurking in their conceptual basement, which if tamed could transform their world. Guess what, the monster was called ….. data!
The executives at this institution had realized that the information they had graciously shared over many decades had contributed to the birth of some major independent businesses, and that the value flowing back to them was not representative of the value they had helped create. They had set up a group to work on deriving more value from their data assets, and had done some sensible things (big data, analytics etc). The interesting thing to me though was aside from the obvious thing - charge (more) for the data previously given away - it actually turned out to be a really hard problem to work out how to monetize this data efficiently and in new ways.
I think there are a few key reasons for this:
- It’s hard to visualize new ways for data use – which is why many people tasked with this sort of problem end up with ideas in the ‘me too’ category or one order of derivation from that
- It’s hard to visualize what might actually matter to a bunch of unknown customers with unknown needs
- It’s hard to turn all that internal data into a consumable asset that meets your new customers needs (coverage, quality, access protocols, metadata……)
- It’s hard to efficiently sell your data to a sufficiently broad set of customers to be profitable
All of which leads you eventually to a number of conclusions (leaving aside the logical sequence for brevity):
- You really need an expert in aggregating this data who knows what’s needed to make it complete and usable
- You need a mechanism for uncovering data value
- You need a cost effective channel to sell data through
Now the professional data aggregators meet a lot of these needs but they share some of the same problems – how to assess the value, who are the emerging customers, how to sell profitably.
What’s really needed is some sort of community where you can go and test some of these hypotheses – where prospective customers can actually tell you what they value, where you can pilot new data product concepts and where you can transact cheaply to actually close a deal and get some money through the door.
And guess what…… OK you get the picture :)
Come and join the party.