When thinking about the value of the data a company collects vs. the traditional value of the product it may produce, collecting and analyzing broad categories of customer + product data is becoming equally — if not more — valuable than the product itself.
And, if the data is becoming so valuable, then analyzing and mining it ought to provide incremental revenue streams beyond the traditional product-based business model. But consider going one step further: If treated right, access to enough quality data would be valuable to others outside of your enterprise too – assuming the correct federation and business models were constructed.
This accretion of value around large data sets – particularly alongside an external ecosystem – is analogous to what we’re familiar with in the product world: The Platform. Indeed, we may find that entirely new business models based on data platforms may arise from legacy product companies.What Constitutes a Platform?
In the traditional world, the platform is a piece of core technology and/or IP that third-parties write to or build upon, frequently using APIs. The platform helps form a market with value and inertia that attracts third-parties to provide complementary solutions. In turn, the ecosystem of third-party products is made more valuable because they are associated with a platform.
In the new analogy, core data can become a platform. If there is sufficient size and uniqueness, if it’s useful enough to others, and if there are appropriate (legal, technical) methods to exchange/federate it with other data sources, it becomes the accretion point for even more new data, services and products.
The net-net is that amassing and exposing vast amounts of unique data to third-party ecosystem partners can effectively create Data-as-a-Platform.Some business model examples
To illustrate what I’ve seen so far, here are a few snippets:
Does Data as a Platform beginning to sound interesting? It should. Plus, with the cost of data storage plummeting coupled with the onset of Big Data analytics, most enterprises should begin considering developing new IP – in the form of data.
To get your juices flowing about creating a data platform business of your own, consider the following data attributes you may already be developing:
In closing, the coming age of big data isn’t just about storing and analyzing lots of bits. It’s about extending the core business models to leverage IP stored-up in your data, and creating new partner ecosystems – and data supply chains – to create even more value for your enterprise. That’s just where the fun starts.
Ken Oestreich is a marketing veteran helping develop new categories in the Enterprise IT, Data Center, and cloud computing spaces. He has held product- and corporate marketing roles with Sun, Cassatt, Egenera, and EMC. Find him on twitter as @fountnhead.
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