As businesses of all sizes grapple with the issue of big data—the tremendous volume of information flooding into companies—the financial and storage demands incurred will require 30 percent of businesses to directly or indirectly monetize their information assets by trading, bartering or outright selling them by 2016, according to a report from IT research firm Gartner.
The rise of this trend is likely to provide an opportunity for the growth of specialist intermediaries, acting as information brokers or resellers, due to the lack of expertise in handling big data and developing information products. However, the Gartner report noted enterprises are already waking up to the reality that their wealth of information has significant market value that can be readily monetized.
"The need to justify the expense of accumulating and managing huge volumes of data has led many organizations to consider monetizing or productizing their information assets," Doug Laney, Gartner research vice president, said in a statement. "For example, several retailers are already generating millions of dollars per year in incremental revenue by placing online their point-of-sale and other data for business partners to subscribe to. Other individuals have launched ventures packaging and reselling publicly available data, or using it to launch new information-based products—such as in the insurance and financial markets."
The report predicted "information resellers" would arise to help businesses develop and execute information asset monetization strategies, and as part of its infonomics research, Gartner said it has developed valuation models that are designed to help organizations gauge the potential and realized economic value of their information assets and notes.
The need for monetization of information will also lead makers of Web-connected products to ensure their offerings collect as much usage, location and system data as possible, and Gartner predicted the appearance of "information product managers" to lead monetization and management efforts internally.
In addition, the report said new forms of the technology emerging, such as cloud-based implementations that enable subscriber-based access and restricted access to segments of data, are likely to replace traditional database management system and business intelligence products that are ill-suited to these evolving business needs. Laney noted shared information hosting services already complement established syndicated data providers.
"Consumers and businesses must recognize that their personal usage, location, profile and activity data has a tangible market value. They should guard it and ensure that when they do share it they receive ample services, products or cash for it," Laney’s statement continued. "Businesses monetizing information assets need to be sensitive to the reputational risk of public backlash against such practices, that may in turn lead to a tighter regulatory environment."