manage flows

Future data companies will not own any data. They will just manage flows of it.

I recently published a thought piece on Quartz. You can find the full version here.

Here are some of the highlights:

“Let’s just say it: In the future, successful data companies will not own any data. The data economy is the engine of growth for all digital businesses. However, the landscape is changing. We are heading for a data crunch. Data has huge economic value but it is becoming businesses’ biggest liability. As a consequence, in the future, data companies will not own data. They will just manage flows of it.”

And continues with…

“The next wave of innovation is not better ad-tech, data aggregation and promises of greater transparency. It’s a fundamental re-think of the value exchange and data ownership. The outcome is still the same–match businesses and customers in a timely and relevant way. It’s just the method of achieving the outcome that will change.

There’s a lot that data companies can learn from businesses that have risen to prominence this decade such as Uber, Airbnb and Coursera. They all leverage the network to form exciting new user experiences, introduce greater efficiencies and transform how their industries function. Through the network, they connect people that have something with people that want that thing. They don’t care about the actual thing itself. Owning a fleet of cars or a chain of hotels is not scalable, and it’s not where the value is. In fact, it’s a liability.”

And concludes…

“This perfect storm of citizen sentiment, new regulation and networked business models will change the way businesses view data. A new wave of Uber-style data companies will emerge. These companies will have no interest in owning masses of personal data. They will just manage the flows of data between those that have data and those that need it.”

This is a meant to be provocative, but it is based on major trends in the industry. I believe this is a possible future outcome for the data industry. Agree or disagree? Leave a comment below.

Image: Benjamin Voros

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