Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The Data Economy of the Future

Data handling today is fundamentally flawed. Information is traded as a commodity and not as an asset which belongs to its owner. This leads to a basic erosion of its value and to the ability to handle data effectively.

How is data value being eroded today?

Data is traded today as a finite commodity which can be used as raw material to develop products and services which provides added-value to end users. Whether it is the aggregation of sources against a single entity to create in-depth perspectives, or the aggregation of data to get insight into a specific population. The data is acquired, cleansed / prepared , matched / assembled , enriched, analyzed and reported / crafted to meet the needs of customers.

However, access and use of the data is riddled with rules and regulations. There are liabilities associated with sensitive data, restrictions linked to privacy and terms of use of almost any data. Every product, depending on the data classification and the purpose of use - needs to be carefully placed in an ecosystem of custodians and controls. This puts a heavy toll on managing data, and despite of the best efforts - it does not give the data owners the sense of comfort that their data is under their control. Why? because it is NOT under their control. This is the erosion of data value. 

Since the owner has limited and sometimes no control over their data - they are inhibited from sharing data, and only allow the data to be used if they believe the value they would gain from sharing the data is greater than the risk they are taking in sharing it. This effectively reduces the ability of businesses to access, learn, innovate and generate greater value out of information, that is generated all the time.

What is the right way to harness data?

The cause of the risk/value imbalance is the fundamental in the premise that data may be governed by others, and that your interest must be taken into account but only as an afterthought. Through time, law and regulations evolve to protect your data. but by then, your understanding of the risk and value has also grown, as well as your reservations and control mechanisms to protect it.

To eliminate the imbalance and create a pro-sharing data economy, we must change the basic rules of information trading: You may access my data on my terms ONLY. This may seem extreme, but think of the implication: the owner has no inhibition to share their data. They can revoke and withdraw your right to access it (within the legal framework) - but when handled correctly - you have the freedom to gain deeper and wider insights. Governance becomes trivial and controls - obsolete.

How do we create the future economy of data?

Owners must have a platform or an agent which allows them to expose or revoke data. This must happen seamlessly and effectively across all industries, products and services where their data is provisioned. This also means you cannot offer a data-based product or service without the guaranteed control to the data owners that allows them to control its use.

Think about harnessing medical records with travel information to identify products and services. Think about precision marketing based on comprehensive in-depth knowledge of the consumer's habits,  measures and purchasing history. There are essentially endless applications. There is value for the owner as well as to the end user.

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