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Benefit from the data economy

This vast amount of data hides insights into consumer behavior, trends in emerging markets, and even predictions for the future. For companies, the goal is to make sense of this r -idly growing amount of data and to find innovative ways to derive sustainable benefits from it while efficiently managing the consumption of the cloud services that support data management and data analysis.

Yet, according to a survey of 255 executives and decision-makers conducted by MIT Technology Review Insights, 45% of respondents say they only use data for basic insights and decisions. This is a missed opportunity.

“There is an absolute explosion of data sources inside and outside the company,” said Channa Seneviratne, director of technology development and solutions at Telstra, an Australian telecommunications company. “As a telecommunications company, our customer base and the data it generates is a fantastic asset that we may not be using as effectively as we could.”

But that’s changing as Telstra takes advantage of today’s data economy. The data economy is the global digital ecosystem where data producers and consumers – businesses and individuals – as well as government and local authorities collect, organize, and share collected data from a variety of sources. By connecting disconnected data across industry boundaries, companies can gain deeper business insights, enter uncharted markets, serve citizens and consumers alike with data-driven products and services, and monetize their data by sharing it externally with key customers and suppliers.

The benefits of participating

How can companies participate in the data economy? One way is to eliminate data silos that can prevent organizations from generating compelling insights. Fortunately, more than a third (35%) of respondents work with partners to share data. This sharing of data helps companies unlock value and generate significant business results.

For example, 66% of those who share data experience improved collaboration with partners and providers. It’s easy to see why. Data exchange and marketplaces offer multiple participants a secure and reliable platform for collecting and exchanging information in real time.

More than half (53%) of business leaders say that participating in the data economy has led them to develop new business models. For example, Telstra uses Internet of Things-enabled monitoring devices to provide  -plications that convert waste, water, air, soil and noise data into actionable insights. By combining this data with microclimate data from weather stations, the company plans to provide the Australian agribusiness with information that can be used for a range of activities, from predicting the health of crop yields to determining pesticide use. “We’re bringing together isolated amounts of data to create more value, insights, and  -plications,” says Seneviratne. “We are now in a better position to monetize this data and create added value.”

Telstra is not alone. Kent Graziano, Chief Technology Evangelist at Snowflake, a data cloud provider based in Bozeman, Montana, says, “As the volume of data increases, many companies are realizing that the data they have can be useful to other organizations, either within in their own industry or in related industries. ”

Graziano offers the example of a medical device manufacturer. Medical devices can track and collect vital information about a patient’s blood pressure, heart rate, and insulin levels. But most manufacturers play a minimal role in influencing and sh -ing patient outcomes.

By partnering with health organizations and securely integrating tracking data with other patient and third-party data, a medical device manufacturer can build a new business model as a health information provider with a direct impact on patient wellbeing.

“Many companies collect data and analyze data, but it has never been technically feasible or economical for them to monetize this data,” says Graziano. By sharing data with key stakeholders via cloud-based platforms such as a data exchange or marketplace, companies can “t – into a new source of income”.

Another benefit of the data economy is faster innovation, according to 52% of survey participants. Traditional companies face unprecedented pressures from their digitally native counterparts to innovate and respond quickly to changing customer preferences and market trends. By leveraging data from a variety of external sources, organizations can discover innovative  -proaches to developing products, delivering services, and even solving global problems.

Credit card companies, for example, could partner with healthcare organizations, wireless carriers and e-commerce players to use their built-in data to track Covid-19 patients and care for them in ways that would not have been possible as individual entities with isolated records.

“How can a 200 year old company innovate in a digital economy?” Asks Sunil Senan, Senior Vice President and Business Head for Data and Analytics at Infosys, a digital services and consulting company based in Bengaluru, India. “We believe data is a big part of keeping serving our customers and finding new ways to stay relevant in a world of disruption.”

In addition to creating new business models and promoting innovation, more than half (51%) of survey participants say that participating in a data economy can improve customer acquisition and retention rates – attracting new customers and retaining existing ones – while 42% of respondents Respondents cite increased sales as an important business advantage.

Download the full report.

This content was created by Insights, the custom content division of MIT Technology Review. It was not written by the editorial staff of the MIT Technology Review.

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