Value of data

The business ecosystem is underpinned by data. Where organizations would once have used fax, printed documents and static data to track and share information, today those connections are virtual, invisible, and constantly active.

But data isn’t only a tool. It has a value of its own, although how you judge that remains open to question.

As Gartner notes, “There is ample evidence published that suggests that data has intrinsic value but that value is not relevant when compared to the value from the use of that data in influencing decisions and behaviors.  Thus, the real, or most valuable focus for data valuation is not intrinsic but should be focused on the potential impact on outcomes as a result of that data’s use.”

The value of data, then, lies in its potential to increase the value of an organization, industry, sector, or the business ecosystem.

In-house data processing vs consulting and data expertise

Well-managed data should be platform agnostic, and easy to move and share. This allows organizations to focus on what sets them apart, while outsourcing more general tasks by sharing a subset of their data. In this way, they can use third-party cloud services in place of owned infrastructure, and contract external services, like payroll, CRM, research, and people management, which would otherwise require dedicated in-house teams.

Third-party providers like ServiceNow provide turnkey solutions for organisations that want to realize the value within their data immediately, whether using pre-built applications or designing their own in low-code and no-code environments.

The latter allows the wider workforce to initiate actions without working through established internal channels, to innovate, and to reduce the time to value. It also helps them use data to drive revenue or save on cost.

As TechRepublic noted, Forrester found that “low-code software development helps developers make cloud-native applications more than 10-times faster (with 70% fewer resources) for both web and mobile”.

Moreover, in one example low-code delivered “$8.1 million in application delivery savings, $6 million in operational efficiencies from developed applications, $3.3 million from accelerated time to market for new products and services and $3.1 million in incremental revenue from improved customer engagement”.

Collecting and using data within the European market

However, organizations working across borders – or using service companies overseas – must ensure they remain compliant with both national and international obligations. The European market is subject to some of the most stringent data protection legislation yet devised. This should not prevent organizations using data to fully integrate themselves within the larger business ecosystem but does mean they must be wary of the way they handle data both in transit and at rest.

GAIA-X for common standards in transparency and interoperability

Representatives from European business and politics are working together on GAIA-X to produce a secure, federated European data infrastructure. The result should be a series of common standards that ensure transparency and interoperability, which are essential to building a data-backed business ecosystem.

Common rules, agreed and implemented across all member states will make it easier for businesses to operate across the Single Market, and strengthen the continent-wide business ecosystem by making it easier for organizations to work together.

At the same time, the European Union continues work on a strategy for a continent-wide data infrastructure through the PARADE initiative (Partnership for Accessing Data in Europe), with the aim of developing and improving common data services, strengthening European competitiveness through infrastructure building, and stimulating European collaboration.

Management of private and sensitive data

Where an organization integrates with enterprises outside of Europe, it may need to subject its data to further processing to remove personally identifiable metrics. Likewise, it may need to make data subjects aware of the transmission of data about them beyond European borders and provide a mechanism for opting out and amending existing records.

Potentially sensitive information, like the algorithms used to surface data, may need to be published to comply with the forthcoming Digital Services Act. Likewise, compliance with ePrivacy legislation, when enacted, could lead to restrictions on the use of metadata to underpin customer-facing services and the communications tools on which many organizations rely.

Overcoming issues with latency

Organizations must ensure that compliance with regulations do not slow down the flow of data. Latency is the enemy of efficient data use.

Stale metrics can never provide an accurate picture of the current state of play, and business decisions made on that basis will be ineffective. They can also be counterproductive if they lead not only to missed opportunities, but lost revenue.

Investment is frequently the most effective remedy to latency. This may take the form of opening premises in physical proximity to the data source – as is often the case with financial trading organizations – or upgrading digital connections. These are capital-intensive options, which will be beyond the reach of many enterprises.

However, contracting to third parties is a universally more viable option. Organizations dedicated to efficient web monitoring and scraping have already made the necessary investment, allowing clients to overcome existing barriers to entry.

Merit Group’s monitoring and scraping operation tracks more than 100,000 web pages to keep data feeds updated, and processes in excess of 4million data points daily. Working across multiple formats, including XML, JSON, and HTML, it offers a turnkey solution for data collection and analysis, in a similar fashion to the more general outsourced HR, payroll and other services discussed above.

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