Businesses start monetizing their information assets
The financial demands of storing and managing big data will lead 30 percent of businesses to directly or indirectly monetize their information assets by trading, bartering or outright selling them by 2016, according to Gartner, Inc. Many enterprises are starting to appreciate the real market value that their harvested information assets have within their own industries or beyond. However, the lack of expertise in handling big data and developing information products will create an opportunity for the growth of specialist intermediaries, acting as information brokers or resellers.
"The need to justify the expense of accumulating and managing huge volumes of data has led many organizations to consider monetizing or productizing their information assets," said Doug Laney, research vice president at Gartner. "For example, several retailers are already generating millions of dollars per year in incremental revenue by placing online their point-of-sale and other data for business partners to subscribe to. Other individuals have launched ventures packaging and reselling publicly available data, or using it to launch new information-based products — such as in the insurance and financial markets."
Since many businesses are ill-equipped to develop and introduce information-based products, "information resellers" will arise to help organizations develop and execute information asset monetization strategies. Gartner anticipates the appearance of "information product managers" to lead these efforts internally.
The new opportunities for significant information-borne income will lead makers of web-connected products to ensure their offerings collect as much usage, location and system data as possible. To assist in these efforts, Gartner, as part of its "infonomics" research, has developed valuation models that help organizations gauge the potential and realized economic value of their information assets.
"Consumers and businesses must recognize that their personal usage, location, profile and activity data has a tangible market value. They should guard it and ensure that when they do share it they receive ample services, products or cash for it," said Mr. Laney. "Businesses monetizing information assets need to be sensitive to the reputational risk of public backlash against such practices, that may in turn lead to a tighter regulatory environment." Recently, for example, the Federal Trade Commission issued subpoenas to major information brokers to disclose how they collect, use and protect personal information.
One issue arising from the trend toward monetizing information assets is that traditional database management system and business intelligence products and implementations are not well-suited to sharing data in a subscription-based manner. The implication is that new forms of the technology are emerging — focusing on cloud-based implementations that enable subscriber-based access and restricted access to segments of data. "A nascent crop of shared information hosting services already complements established syndicated data providers, and most vendors have taken steps to cloud-enable their technologies," concluded Mr. Laney.