When GDPR hit the headlines it created a vision of data as a business liability – there for the taking whenever some unscrupulous attacker decided to invade your organisation and steal your most precious asset.
It made us forget about how data is actually ‘a precious asset’.
In the information age data has become the new oil. It holds the secret to your competitive advantage, telling you how to differentiate yourself from the competition and creating a customer experience that’s simply too good to ignore.
Today, every company is a data company – whether it’s a traditional non-tech business or born out the information age. The biggest challenge is how to understand its value as both an asset and a risk in order to push forward the right programmes for your organisation.
It’s a done deal
Driving value from data as a business asset plays very well in the boardroom, as leaders look for new ways to up their competitive position in an increasingly fast-moving world. Research from Deliotte shows that 41% of executives believe the CDO’s primary role should be, “To manage and leverage data as an enterprise business asset”.
It would seem that any programme that seeks to turn your mountain of data into something more valuable and actionable is likely to inspire at the highest levels.
But where to start?
The intelligent way to unlock your data’s value
Experience tells us that some of the most valuable insight is buried deep in your unstructured data – the emails, documents, research, decisions and reports that your employees have generated over the years. But many of these files and documents have been lost and forgotten over time – you probably don’t even realise they’re there.
We recently hosted a roundtable event where our guests included senior data professionals from large UK-based enterprises. One of our clients, an IT security expert at a major pharmaceutical company, was present and shared a story about how our product has helped them to confidently defend a patent application from a competitor:
“We were buying something and 10 years later we’re in a dispute against the IP owner. Through Exonar we can successfully go back into our email archive to trace the conversation to something that, at the time, was uninteresting…It’s saved us months of litigation being able to unpick the story and prove our side.”
The art of selling information intelligence
Organisations like our client have achieved ‘information intelligence’ since they know how to understand and extract the knowledge that’s locked in their data at scale, while defending the privacy of their customers. They do this by:
Managing complexity: tackling the volume and complexity of data at scale, so it can be organised and migrated intelligently.
Delivering on privacy: ensuring that sensitive, confidential and personal information is programmatically kept private and secure.
Extracting value: mining IP, research or insight within the information so they can use their data to drive competitive advantage.
But implementing this sort of data programme requires investment, and as another guest at our roundtable, the data privacy director at an insurance brokerage, said:
“Everyone agrees what we need to do but it’s so difficult to get the funding. What arguments do you use? And how do you present them to get the money out?”
We believe it’s all about how you frame your business case. If you talk from a GDPR point-of-view, highlighting how data is a business liability, the board isn’t interested – they’ve been there, done that.
And if you talk generically about data as an asset, they’re not going to see the real tangible benefit. To secure the investment you need, you need to position your programme in terms of what’s interesting to them.
At our roundtable, the former security lead for several large international organisations, said:
“Look at the organisation’’ goals and your CEO’s objectives and how they cascade down to what you do, so that you can align with those goals.”
Our client agreed.
“What’s the tangible impact? Put a cost to the campaign you’d need to do to recover the organisation’s perception in the press and the cost of a set of lawyers for a month to go to court to argue a case.”
Who will emerge victorious?
The winners in the information age will find ways to use their mountains of historic and new data to do amazing things, like enhance customer experiences, deliver new services or business models…
The laggards will be the ones struggling to exploit their valuable data assets in ways that benefit the people they serve, because they fail to become ‘information intelligent’.