Thomas Edison once said, “The value of an idea is in the using of it.” Today (many of) those “ideas” are data and the insights derived from them, and it remains true that their value is in how they are used. Simply put, data + use = value. Insights-driven companies use these data-derived insights in innovative new ways to create differentiated experiences and competitive advantage.

The technologies that enable this new data innovation will be the subject of the Data Innovation Tech Tide, with a specific focus on the data economy. Companies have been monetizing their data internally for some time now – predicting churn, identifying prospective customers, optimizing their prices and processes – but I’m particularly interested in the technologies that can help them commercialize their data.

In my (relatively) recent webinar, Commercialization Opportunities Transform Data From Cost To Revenue, I talked about how AT&T seized the opportunity – going beyond monetization to commercialization. It first used its network data to identify where to locate its retail outlets – which streets were the most heavily trafficked – and determined which devices and subscription plans to promote in each store based on demographic data. If the streets were filled with young professionals, promote unlimited data and international roaming packages; if household sizes indicate kids, promote family plans with geo-fencing options. Their data provided a wealth of insights. And, they weren’t the only ones who could benefit.

AT&T Data Patterns now enables others to gain better understanding of audience demographics across geographies. For example, outdoor advertisers can better understand who’s passing nearby advertising locations. Who’s going to see the billboard on the 101 or I95 or Route66? The service provides anonymous and aggregated group insights that will help advertisers better plan their outdoor campaigns and place ads that are more relevant to audiences that see them.

That data can also help commercial realtors or developers better understand the value of a particular location, or help urban planners and development agencies determine the needs of their city neighborhoods. For more on how, take a look at my report on data commercialization, Data Commercialization: A CIO’s Guide To Taking Data To Market,

But I’ve digressed… The Tech Tide will look at the new technologies that enable companies to better use, share and sell their data. Categories within the report will extend along the data value chain from data management and governance to exploration, action and ultimately innovation. All categories enable innovation – and ultimately the data economy.

Which technologies do data leaders invest in to prepare for and enable data innovation and their entry into the data economy? Which features should data leaders look (or ask) for in their existing technologies across the data value chain?

I look forward to hearing from everyone.

(This post originally appeared on the Forrester Research blog, which can be viewed here).

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