Data Summit Connect Fall 2020 Opening Keynote Explores Data as an Asset

Data Summit Connect Fall began on October 20 with a keynote from Doug Laney, data and analytics innovation fellow, West Monroe and author of "Infonomics," who discussed the new economics of information.

Videos of presentations from Data Summit Connect Fall 2020, a free series of data management and analytics webinars presented by DBTA and Big Data Quarterly, are available for viewing on the DBTA YouTube channel.

Increasingly, IT business executives talk about information as one of their most important assets. But few behave as if it is.

Executives report to the board on the health of their workforce, their financials, their customers, and their partnerships, but rarely the health of their information assets. And corporations typically exhibit greater discipline in managing and accounting for their office furniture than their data.

He covered the issues of information ownership, rights, and privileges, along with external data opportunities and challenges, and his set of generally accepted information principles culled from other asset management disciplines.

According to Laney, 9/11 kick started the Infonomics age. Bureaucratic nonsense holds data back from being a complete asset, it’s still argued as to who owns what data, where, today, Laney said.

“We talk about it as an asset, but is it?” Laney said. Because it meets the definition of an asset, data should be treated as such, he said.

The crux of Infonomics is: Monetizing data as an asset, managing data as an asset, and measuring data as an asset.

“By starting with measuring data, you can manage it better and gain value from it,” Laney said.

Organizations can generate value from data and analytics in several ways, he explained. There are two classes, indirect data monetization and direct data monetization. Internally data can be used to improved processes or effectiveness, reduce risk, and develop new products or markets, and more. Externally data can be traded; it can enhance products or services, offer insights, and more.

There is a process to monetizing data including:

  • Establishing a data strategy or data product function
  • Inventory available information assets
  • Draw inspiration from and adapt how others have monetized data
  • Identify ways to generate direct and indirect economic benefits from each data asset
  • Test monetization ideas for feasibility
  • Prepare data and establish market
  • Gauge success and alter strategy/tactics as necessary

Organizations should look to answer hypothetical questions as a way to derive the insights needed to monetize data, he said.

Because there isn’t a standard best practice regarding data management, Laney suggested several sources of asset management inspirations including physical asset management, supply chain management, financial asset management, ITAM/SAM, IT service management, knowledge management, human capital management, library science, records management, and intellectual property management.

There are a few generally accepted information principles such as relevance, inventory, ownership, authorization, assessment, possession, and more.

There are 6 R’s of data sustainability:

  1. Refuse
  2. Reduce
  3. Reuse
  4. Repurpose
  5. Recycle
  6. Remove

When measuring data as an asset, people need to realize the value of their data. There are models for quantifying data as a value. Laney developed 6 models to measure the value of data, which includes: intrinsic value, business value, performance value, cost value, market value, and economic value.

When thinking about applying models there are economic principles that can come into play. The principle of supply and demand operates differently with information than other assets, Laney said.

“It’s incumbent in today’s information age to apply asset management practices and principles with your data,” Laney said.