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ON DIGITAL-First Fridays: A New Asset Class Emerges. Data

We live in a digital world. A testament to this new reality is the growing value of digital content: we design complex products, manage our pipelines, transfer cash, procure trillions, hire employees—all in the form of digital content. This is the new digital reality.

Information is the new currency. The impact this is having on society, business, and government is profound.

Will data replace the Dollar, the Euro, the Yen? It certainly has started to. New businesses and whole industries are emerging to support the digitalization of content. Google, Facebook, and Twitter have built their businesses on the economics of data. They’re collecting it, analyzing it, and monetizing it at great profit.

Data is new digital legal tender and everyone’s getting in the game. As it is commoditized in its various formats, businesses will have to find ways to reward customers in exchange for their data. Marketers will have to be more sophisticated in their use of personal data. Individual consumers will sell their personal data to organizations that are currently benefiting from collecting vast amounts of it for free. This will become common practice.

When we consider the rate of increase in the amount of data generated by today’s society, we can understand how this new business model is a lucrative one. There is more data in more formats being exchanged at faster rates than ever before. Each day, we produce massive streams of data. As a result, every digital business has data to monetize.

In a digital world, organizations will use analytics to mine their data for information and insight to improve business performance, to protect against fraud and risk, to get to know their customers better, and to capitalize on new opportunities. If data is the new asset class, then analytics is the next frontier in deriving value from information, uncovering “moments of truth” that empower organizations. Analytics has the power to transform facts into strategic insights that deliver intelligence for profound impact.

But where there is opportunity, there is also risk. Data is vulnerable. Like money, data can be stolen. As information grows in value, so will the need to protect and manage it—and this will be increasingly mandated by governments and regulatory bodies.

As a new asset class emerges, so will a new role: The Chief Data Officer. As the executive advocate for data management, the Chief Data Officer will use the exploding volumes of data and analytics to improve decision making and identify new revenue opportunities.

Across the organization, every function will want access to data and insights about their operations. The Chief Data Officer will make this possible by optimizing the management of data (integrating, deploying, securing, governing) and mobilizing their organization around an information management strategy.

Good data and analytics lead to strategic insights that can be used to engage customers. In my next post, I’ll look at how organizations can use these insights to not only engage customers, but to harness the power of a community of digital customers.

For more thoughts ON DIGITAL, download the book.

Mark Barrenechea

Mark J. Barrenechea is OpenText's Vice Chairman, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer. A prominent thought leader, he has extensive experience in information technology and his vision is to enable the digital world to help transform organizations.

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