Platt Perspective on Business and Technology

Mining and repurposing of raw data into new types of knowledge – 2

Posted in business and convergent technologies, macroeconomics by Timothy Platt on February 27, 2012

This is my second installment in a series on repurposing accumulated stores of raw data and of processed knowledge, and of the potential – and potential pitfalls of commoditizing and marketing this as information product (see Part 1.) In Part 1 I briefly outlined some of the issues involved in identifying and processing raw data pools into sources of commercial value. And I left off that discussion raising the question of business models for organizations that would function in this type of marketplace.

As a starting point there, I posited two basic approaches:

• Businesses that mine and commoditize their own raw data pools as a way of gaining new sources of value from their accumulated information base, and
• Data repurposing businesses that would as brokers help other businesses to capitalize on some of the value inherent in their data pools and manage sale of access to it to others.

These two basic approaches might in fact be combined, where a business or organization starts out commoditizing from its own repositories of stored and backlogged data and then moves on to apply lessons learned and best practices developed in helping other businesses to utilize their own data troves – in-house and possibly as commodity to third parties too. Whatever the specific data repurposing business’ decision and actions on that count, their basic business model would have to allow for and support some basic features.

Data surety and safe third party usability: this means making sure that any data sold access to, is going to be unencumbered by hidden usage restrictions and that it is error-free. First consider the question of encumbrances.

• As already noted in Part 1, this includes data cleansing to strip out details that cannot be shared with others outside of the original owning organization for confidentiality and other legally mandated and structured reasons.
• But this also includes terms of use, and of redistribution. Generally, a purchasing organization would have to agree not to resell or otherwise distribute data obtained from a repurposing company to any third party. It is theirs to use in-house but not to share with anyone else.
• Terms of usage may also place restrictions on how this information would be used by the usage purchasing client business too. So for example, terms of use might contractually limit how the data usage purchaser could use this data in directly contacting its original source company, or any clients of that company that might be in some way identifiable from the data so shared.

The issue of data provided through a repurposing company being “error free” is a lot more complicated.

• For most purposes, the purchasing organization should only assume that the data they acquire access to is as complete as they have paid for and that it is free of error as a measure of deviation from the original copy in the source company’s data stores.
• That does not necessarily mean that this data is still currently up to date or accurate, unless that is an explicit stipulation in the contract agreement.
• Perhaps more to the point, and more significantly, this data does not in general come with a guarantee that it is going to be accurate or effectively useful for the purpose that the purchasing client seeks it for – only that it includes data types and quantities that the client determined they would need and that they have contractually agreed to buy use of.

Whatever the details as to whose data this brokering business is monetizing and marketing – their own, other business’ or both, their business model for this has to be built around an assurance and due diligence system.

Terms of usage and how this data would be marketed and sold are important here too.

• A purchasing business might seek to buy exclusive access to and use of specific data sets or even specific types of data in general, and certainly as the sole purchasing business from within their industry, or in their industry within some geographic or otherwise defined limiting scope.
• Data access purchases might be made as one time, and repeatable transactions, or through ongoing subscription services.
• The purchasing business might simply buy access to raw data or it might also by data parsing and analytical services from the providing repurposing business. And as a business model, capacity to help client businesses make more effective use of the data they buy access too will probably become one of the key differentiating factors in determining marketplace strength and position for data repurposing businesses.

Here, the business model of the repurposing business and the products and services offered to their client companies in effect define each other. And once you have the basic business model and offerings specified, which can and probably will be flexible, the details fall into place. So for example, if a data repurposer: A has a business model in which they broker access to cleansed data from other businesses to other businesses, and with access provided through unique access, non-transferable subscription agreements, volumes of data accessible for a given subscription level and fee, and duration of subscription would be negotiated as would costs involved. And A might also and perhaps even primarily differentiate between the subscription levels that it offers according to the level of data-to-knowledge processing it offers to those subscription purchasing clients.

I have discussed this all from the perspective of the data usage buying and selling businesses so far, only considering the original data sources from the perspective of due diligence and risk remediation there. What of the original data sources and owners that the businesses that hold data accumulations initially collected it from? I will turn to that important set of considerations in my next series installment, having built a foundation discussion as to how this data can and will be organized, marketed, and sold-access to. Meanwhile, you can find this posting and series at Ubiquitous Computing and Communications – everywhere all the time and at Macroeconomics and Business.

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