We all know that data can be a company’s most important asset but managing it in the same way as other, more tangible, assets within the corporation is often neglected. Doug Laney, VP and Analyst at Gartner and author of Infonomics, points out: “Senior executives report to the board on the health of their workforce, their financials, their customers and their partnerships, but rarely the health of their information assets. Corporations typically exhibit greater discipline in tracking and accounting for their office furniture than their data.”
In many ways this is inevitable as data, being hidden on hard drives and other storage media, is more difficult to manage than physical inventory, plant and buildings. This is particularly true for organizations whose core business is not centred on the gathering and exploitation of information. However, whatever your business it is almost certain you are sitting on undervalued and underused data assets which could be put to work. Let’s consider some examples of traditional businesses in established sectors which are extracting value from their data.