How Data-Driven Enterprises Create Virtuous Cycles

Video produced by Steve Nathans-Kelly

At Data Summit Connect 2020, DataStax VP Bryan Kirschner discussed how to create value with data.

Full videos of Data Summit Connect 2020 presentations are available at

It is important to change how we think about orchestrating processes and tools and what our priorities are as technologists and strategists if we want to have a data-driven enterprise, said Kirschner. Referencing an article in The Economist, Kirschner said that data is the new oil, and as the world's most valuable resource, it is creating new rules for competition.

Data is unlike other valuable resources, said Kirschner, because it is "non-rival." "That means it's not used up when we eat something or burn some oil or have some consulting time with our accountant. That time is used up. That oil is gone. Data is not like that. Any number of people or firms can use data simultaneously. They don't diminish it. Any number of algorithms can be applied to data simultaneously without reducing its availability or value to anybody else that is fundamentally different than almost all of the economic inputs."

In addition, Kirschner observed, more data makes other data more valuable, and having other people in an ecosystem, in a company, who are trying to make and create value with that data, doesn't hold anyone else back. "It's like a lab with infinite seats, right?" Making the point that more data makes you smarter, and more data makes AI smarter, Kirschner observed, "So, just thinking about your own product or service, getting more data is a virtuous cycle that makes having that data more valuable to deliver customer experiences. But because data can be reused and shared and recombined, every new piece of data, makes every other new piece of data just a little bit more valuable."

In fact, he noted, "There's a greater likelihood that somehow, somewhere, whether that's within your team, within your company, within an ecosystem, that data could be mashed up with other data to create a valuable customer experience, to change the value proposition."

As more and more companies are making  progress toward being a data-driven enterprise, keeping data, figuring out how to use it to improve customer experience, figuring out partnerships, figuring out how they could match other data up it, to be valuable, that whole pool of data—and the value and the possibilities increase. "So if you're T-Mobile, who's your next Netflix? If you're Netflix, who's your next T-Mobile? If you're in any industry, who's the next partner that wouldn't have existed in a world?" Kirschner asked.

"We're in a world where others may want to provide a service or a product to your customers because the data they get back is valuable. Maybe they do it for free. You might want to provide a product or service to another company's customers because the data you get back is so valuable. That's why it's so important to have that top-line data strategy and executive sponsorship for saying, 'We see the way the world is going to look like, and we want to be there. And we want to play like a T-Mobile or a Netflix.' "