To Drive Revenue, Focus on Where your Data is Going

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In this special guest feature, Christopher Caen, CEO at PixelTitan, discusses how companies have to realize the goal for understanding effective use of their corporate data is knowing not where it is created, but where it is going. Christopher has been around technology since the early eighties, where he spent a large portion of his misspent youth running around the halls of Atari and playing Asteroids. Since then he has worked on both the client and the agency side for companies such as Sun Microsystems, Cisco, Informix, and NEC, and at startups as a senior executive as well as a CEO. Over the last five years he has worked with some of the largest companies in IoT and Connected Data, and has spoken at conferences and led panels with companies including Intel, Amazon, Samsung, Hitachi, and Accenture.

With the explosion of data, companies are finding themselves playing catch up with this important corporate asset. Additionally, as more and more of this data becomes unstructured, it becomes harder to work with. So corporate leaders find themselves in an uncomfortable middle ground between two tidal waves. On one side they need to consume more and more data, and on the other side that corporate data is becoming more expensive to use.

Not surprisingly, a new generation of data driven startups have risen up to tackle this problem. Some are trying to address this by having people tag the data, and some are attempting to throw processing power at it. Both solutions have the problem of trying to scale as this data grows exponentially, but for companies there is an even bigger problem: Moving the data.

Although startups are trying to solve the attribution issue (the tagging of data), in reality all the tagging in the world isn’t going to cover the huge cost of moving and storing this data. No company, regardless of how many servers they can store data on, or how many processors they can use to tag, wants to actually pay for moving corporate data that is rapidly growing to zettabytes of unstructured data.

To free themselves from incurring this cost, companies have to realize the goal for understanding effective use of their corporate data is knowing not where it is created, but where it is going. In order to do this, executives have to move away from a mindset of “who” owns the data (where the data is) to “how it’s going to be utilized/consumed.

This mindset is counter-intuitive to what we have learned about data. For decades we have believed that owning the data is the most important aspect of to deriving value from it. But in reality, data is worthless unless the company can figure out what to do with it. And data itself cannot drive incremental value unless other companies can also use it as well. Companies that silo their data only for themselves will find that only they can use it, reducing the utility of that data as well as its ability to drive revenue.

As the owner of data, this means that not only should a company understand who will be utilizing this data (which will impact weather it lives on the edge or in the cloud), but should also consider other complementary data, that when combined with the original content, creates a cohort for easy consumption by other users. This will help to make your data discoverable by other companies, and other for new uses never thought of before.

However, the risk is becoming inefficient with managing this data, both on the processing side as well as creating the bandwidth to support it. The solution is to create a hybrid, that takes the pre-culling advantage of edge processing and pushes it even further. Although this sounds strange, the most efficient way to move data is to not move it at all. In order to make data discoverable, the tagging and addition of identifying attributes of that data must be easily moved independently of the underlying data. In this fashion, not only will companies find they can distribute the processing task to the edge, but they can also dramatically lower the amount of data they need to process and move.

The ability to move these “identifying attributes” of data is vital as we move towards a more connected world. Our corporate data must become more connected as well, not just for our own use, but for the use of other companies, partners, and customers in our ecosystem. The tool for unlocking this value is the ability to make this identity the key to the aggregation of data in real-time, to create new scenarios for consumption. In doing so this will create revenue that was never accessible before. So, don’t just hold on to your data, monetize it by letting it go!

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