Ask any company and most all of them will say that information is their biggest asset. Yet there really isn’t a way to put information assets on the balance sheet other than “goodwill” and that’s a very malleable number at best. The other issue is that companies feel that all their data is proprietary and needs to stay strictly in-house. This is known as “dark data” or the data that you have to keep, but think you can’t do anything with, or won’t because it’s top secret, super special.
No One Really Cares About Your Data
Certainly some of your information is proprietary and highly confidential, but based on our experience, that’s only about 15% of your overall information you collect. That other 85% or so? It’s either data exhaust (data that is collected but meaningless to your business) or tertiary data that really isn’t part of your secret sauce.
It’s All About The Derivative
A company that may in-licence (buy) your exhaust or tertiary data actually doesn’t even care about your data in the context that you do. If they are licensing your data, it is likely for a Big Data or advanced analytics project, where the variety of data is key. They are also likely to be buying or licensing all kinds of other data. What’s important to them is the information derivative of the data.
Changing How You Think About Dark Data
The field of “infonomics
” or assigning economic value to data, is still nascent. We’ve already set precedent by helping agricultural, manufacturing and automotive companies in/out license their data. It takes a bit of a mind shift on how you see your data as a revenue source beyond just your current business model. But doing so can help lower or zero out the costs of your data costs.