It is a constant struggle for organizations to distinguish themselves from the competition, and this battle is further complicated as the enterprise is awash in new data from a variety of sources and in a variety of formats. While social media, the IoT and other innovations certainly pose some information management challenges, these data advancements also provide new opportunities for companies to harness information to be more effective.
So how can organizations utilize these new opportunities? The answer lies outside of the firewall, in providing customers and partners with rich, interactive, self-service access to information.
We call this phenomenon “data monetization” and believe today’s digital environment is ripe for tapping its extraordinary potential. Most companies have a wealth of information contained in their existing systems and processes—an abundance of data that is only augmented by information stemming from emerging data sources.
By putting into place a framework for turning this raw data into valuable, actionable insights, organizations can realize a transformative return on their information management investments. And though the term “data monetization” suggests a financial element, monetary rewards are just one component of the broader benefits of data monetization.
In addition to identifying new revenue streams, we’ve also seen organizations uncover cost saving opportunities, incentivize customer behaviors, and eliminate fraud or further abuse in business processes.
To look at it another way, with high-value information organizations can accomplish the following:
Sell it, or charge a fee for the ability to access and analyze it.
Empower stakeholders to tap into information to generate more income or increase profitability.
Identify up-sell or cross-sell opportunities, or find ways to reduce customer attrition.
Dig deep into data to uncover processes or operations where hard-dollar cost savings can be achieved, either through increased efficiency or reduced waste.
Because these outcomes are contingent upon enabling non-technical users to make data-backed decisions, it’s critical that organizations consider their information delivery needs when devising strategies for data monetization. Domain-specific information applications—or info apps—that deliver information at the point of decision are ideally suited for data monetization.
Like the iPhone’s weather widget, these info apps must be built for a specific purpose and fit into a particular familiar workflow. This design produces an intuitive experience and eliminates any reliance upon IT or business analysts, making info apps a perfect delivery mechanism for the customer-facing initiatives common in data monetization.
For example, a major US bank estimates that it has saved tens of millions of dollars through a series of dashboards and info apps that allow corporate customers to analyze spending patterns and create custom reports themselves. Prior to rolling out the initiative, staff at the bank’s branches and contact centers had to manually look up the information when requested by a customer. This cumbersome, time-intensive process is completely eliminated in the new self-service environment, resulting in greater online banking adoption which, in turn, reduces the bank’s support costs.
Of course, data monetization projects can only be successful if the data at hand is cleansed and ready for analysis. Imagine if, in the financial services example outlined above, the bank’s customers found multiple duplicate records in their online statements. Not only would this result in costs and inefficiencies associated with personnel manually remedying the issue, it would also cause customer friction and could lead to loss of business. To prevent errors, it’s essential that companies employ data integration, data quality and master data management (MDM) best practices.
This process of harmonizing all critical data is even more essential in today’s environment, given the plethora of data formats and sources at play. It’s critical that companies are equipped to handle data from a variety of sources and formats, determine its quality and accuracy, and customize the delivery of the resulting insights to the preferences of all audience segments.
The challenges and opportunities for data monetization will only increase as cloud, social media, the IoT and other enterprise trends persist. That’s why now is such a critical time for organizations to begin to truly make the most of their information investments. Delivering rich, interactive insights to customers and partners will soon be a matter of course, so savvy businesses must act now to retain a competitive advantage.
Will 2017 be the year that your organization realizes the transformative power of data monetization?
(About the author: Rado Kotorov is chief innovation officer for Information Builders, a business intelligence and analytics provider.)