Monetizing data at scale

Data monetization is the next competitive hurdle, but for most CIOs, it’s uncharted territory.

data funnels with money coin monetization of data funnel
Getty Images

Become An Insider

Sign up now and get FREE access to hundreds of Insider articles, guides, reviews, interviews, blogs, and other premium content. Learn more.

Many CIOs are being challenged to take on a new role in the enterprise: money spinner. As businesses digitally transform products, services, customer experiences and operations, they’re generating new types and sources of data that, with effort, can be used to create monetizable data-driven products, services and experiences to external customers. Eighty-two percent of respondents to a recent IDC survey reported that data as a service will be required to compete effectively in their industries, and within five years, it will be a critical requirement for competitive advantage.

Not surprisingly, CIOs are often front and center in achieving success with these initiatives. “My job, on top of being the traditional CIO, is now to be the catalyst to teach, learn, educate and encourage risk-taking in this area,” says Justin Kershaw, CIO of Cargill.

But what can we sell?

Modern IT organizations are data factories, with decades of experience in creating and managing data for use in process improvement, supply chain management, business analytics, enhanced decision making and other applications. But for most CIOs, adapting this environment to the demands of data monetization — figuring out whether enterprise data assets have any value for external sale and then turning that data into a high-quality product — is uncharted territory.

Charles Thomas, General Motors’ chief data and analytics officer, suggests that the most lucrative way to make new money using data is to identify industries with an “age-old problem” that a company can solve with unique data. For example, GM’s OnStar data could be valuable to the radio broadcasting industry. “We can tell you exactly what radio station someone’s listening to, how long they listened to it, whether they had it on mute or not, and where they were when they had it on,” he says. These insights open the door for GM to co-develop a solution for advertising attribution. GM’s data could help identify whether someone stopped at a Starbucks shop after hearing a Starbucks ad on the car radio, thus connecting ad spending to revenue produced.

To continue reading this article register now

SUBSCRIBE! Get the best of CIO delivered to your email inbox.