Oil has been dethroned. Long live the ‘new oil’ – data – but we need an exchange for it.

Edge computing is cool. It enables the sensing and collection of useful data that could be quickly processed and mined for actionable insights. With a pent-up demand for such high-speed 24/7 collection of data since Industry 3.0, imagine the challenge posed by technologies such as Industrial IoT, 5G and Wi-Fi 6, which are primed to help businesses create 180 zettabytes of data by 2025.

Now that data can be collected and wirelessly transceived anywhere and anytime, the next problem to overcome is DATA SHARING.

Take the case of digitalized job search firm Snagajob in the US. Its mobile sourcing and hiring tools connect 75 million registered hourly workers to business subscribers spread over 300,000 employer locations. To share its rich digital data with an external marketing analytics firm, Snagajob has to routinely implement multiple laborious steps:

  1. Identifying the database elements to be shared
  2. Extracting the data set with a client tool
  3. Compressing and encrypting the data in order to email it
  4. Emailing the file to the marketing partner

The marketing firm would reverse the steps above, plus build a database table to ingest the data and import it into a target database (ETL or extract, transfer and load). The amount of time taken in total can stretch from days to even weeks, depending on the volume of data and the urgency of the project.

With the ease of data collection, Snagajob’s analytics needs were soon outpacing the efficiency of this traditional method of data sharing. Consequently, Snagajob turned to a modern, cloud-native data sharing platform for help. Now, all Snagajob had to do was do a one-time operation to create a scalable data warehouse in the cloud. Any number of external clients, vendors or partners could now tap into that cloud simultaneously and receive live, secure, ready-to-use updated data.

Instead of days or weeks, data was now shareable within minutes or hours. Performance, reliability, and agility were dramatically increased, allowing Snagajob to save 300% on costs, operate with enhanced agility, and increase its business intelligence and competitiveness.

Sharing but not monetizing yet?

The example above shows how data sharing can be supercharged via the cloud to keep in sync with edge computing’s meteoric potential to scale even further. This kind of modern data sharing improves internal productivity and leads to direct and indirect cost savings and other intangible business benefits.

Huge savings in costs is of course a dream come true for any business. However, just imagine if the same platform that helps save cost can also bring in new revenue streams.

When centralized cloud-based repositories of ready-to-use data are mutually exchanged, organizations save a lot of time and money sourcing for the information themselves. That information can yield new insights and collaborative opportunities that enrich the collective business intelligence and result in a win-win scenario for all stakeholders, including global customer bases.

How does this monetization of data work? One example: a data service company that gathers mobile phone location information and usage data can share the anonymized information with advertising agencies and marketing groups so they can execute highly targeted campaigns to specific consumers.

This is a one-way one-to-one ‘outbound sharing’ avenue of data monetization: from data source to data sharer. Now imagine if the end users of the data in this scenario — the advertising and marketing groups — had information and insights that they could offer to the data source in exchange. This would constitute a two-way (bidirectional data sharing) data exchange scenario that can be replicated with other partners, thereby opening up boundless collaboration opportunities across many other industries.

Data exchange for data sharing

For example, PlayFab is a company that provides back-end services and data logistics for its game studio customers that serve 75 million monthly average gamers and 15 million daily average gamers. With data exchange, PlayFab now shares player data for each game with each respective game studio. PlayFab also anonymizes aggregated data across all studios and shares those results with all its game studio customers. On the receiving end of the shared data, game studios optimize games based on the shared player data from PlayFab. Result, more revenue is extracted by all stakeholders now, from previously untapped data insights.

Another marvel of data exchange is Rakuten Rewards. The successful global conglomerate used to grapple with specific legal requirements and permissions related to which data can be shared, creating a complicated data sharing infrastructure within the company.

Not only was the internal process of sharing data cumbersome, but it also prevented business units from accessing each other’s data sets for making more-informed business decisions.

Subsequently, Rakuten chose a modern, cloud-built data platform that enables its business units and subsidiaries to easily receive governed and shared data within minutes and combine it with their own data sources for even deeper insights, enhanced cost efficiency, and new revenue streams from data monetization.

Data is the new oil

Actionable intelligence information has always been a prized asset throughout history. With oil falling out of favour due to its unsustainability and limited supply, data is the new incumbent that will entrench Industry 4 and beyond.

Gartner predicts that by 2022, 90% of corporate strategies will explicitly mention data as a critical enterprise asset and analytics as an essential competency. High-growth companies already realize this, and are leveraging on external data sources to supplement their own data. Their axiom: ask not what you can do for your data, but what data can do your business.