Data Strategy

Is data really the new gold? And how do companies lift this treasure from the depths of the data oceans? 

"Data is the new gold", we have been hearing and reading this phrase over and over again for more than 10 years. But if you take a closer look, it becomes clear that hardly any company has yet managed to lift this gold treasure from the depths of the data oceans. So, do we need to rethink this phrase? Not necessarily, as this blog article shows.

6 minutes to read
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  • The importance of data and AI is widely recognised in business, and many companies already collect a lot of data. But just as many fail to derive value from using that data.  

  • Even if they succeed in using the data, this is only the first step in creating value. The real business case is not only to use your data yourself, but also to sell and trade it.  

  • This is where most data success stories end. How can business change that? This blog post shows how the right business model can be used to unlock the data treasure. 

It is true that the importance of data and AI is now widely recognised by business and many businesses collect a lot of promising data. But just as many fail to process and use this data in a targeted way for their specific use cases. That means they fail to systematically use data across all areas and functions of the business to gain competitive advantage. And they fail to base business decisions on tangible statistics and facts, i. e. on data and insights, rather than on experience and intuition. Or to put it another way: Companies are failing to transform into data-driven organisations. This is also one of the key learnings of our study "Data-driven Companies: On the Way to Strategic Use of Data".  

Zühlke has been supporting companies on their data journey and their path to becoming a data-driven organisation for many years. In our projects, we have experienced that the data journey itself is changing. And therefore, we can tell from experience: If you want to deal with that change and lift the real treasure and monetise data successfully, you have to think further.

Because even if you succeed in using the painstakingly collected and elaborately processed data yourself, this is only the first step of value creation. The impact of data is becoming more and more important, and the real business case is not only using your own data yourself, but also selling and trading with it. Unfortunately, this is where most data success stories end – with the exception of a few negative examples and scandals. GDPR, ethics and other stumbling blocks say hello. Let's overcome these obstacles and think a few steps further.  

Open up new data sources – realizing your own data marketplace  

Imagine you are responsible for collecting and monetising data in your company. Or you need data to progress on your path to becoming a data-driven organisation. But: you don't have this data at all or you can't access it because it is stored in silos to which you have no access.

We often experience this phenomenon in corporate groups. A lot of interesting data is collected, but compliance prevents direct access because it is stored in other departments or subsidiaries. So what solutions are there to reach the goal and turn your project into a success?  

One promising approach: set up a data marketplace within your own company or corporate group. For many clients, this is a fascinating first step in onboarding before venturing out with their own data to the general public right away. This marketplace is made possible by modern technology that aligns the various security, data protection and usage requirements and thus makes data trading possible. The underlying concept is called compute to data.  

Compute to data - new potential for data trading  

Compute to data was created by crypto start-ups like Ocean Protocol. It is based on the idea of not selling your own data to a buyer for free use, but only making it available for training artificial intelligence algorithms. After all, AI algorithms get better the larger the data treasure on which they are trained. Accordingly, the hunger for data is huge.

And this is precisely where Compute to data comes in: Data providers make confidential data available for precisely this purpose. Buyers' algorithms get smarter without revealing the raw data. The marketplace in central brings providers and buyers together and regulates findability, access control, settlement and payment.   

The entire process remains privacy compliant and secure because the data provider's data never leaves its data centre. They remain within the company's firewall (data sovereignty). The client's algorithm is allowed to run on the provider's datasets after authorisation, and access is via edge computing nodes. This ensures that the algorithm does not steal any confidential data. This procedure is secured by a series of access restrictions (token gated access).

Payment is made by pay-per-use, fully automated via modern cryptocurrencies, smart contracts or traditionally with another fiat currency. This technically extremely fascinating concept holds enormous potential for trading with data, but currently still holds some challenges for the IT of most businesses regarding infrastructure, edge computing and security.  

Unlock the data treasure – with the appropriate partner ecosystem  

As a solution partner for the path to a data-driven organization, we have been observing the potential of Ocean Protocol from various angles for many years. We have successfully established as an integration partner for this technology and have built up a partner ecosystem with lots of benefits for our customers: Together with our partner Acentrik, we support companies in building business models in the field of data trading.

Built on Ocean Stack, Acentrik’s data marketplace and technology are market-ready. With B2B-friendly ways implemented by Acentrik’s team, established and global enterprises can benefit from the product offerings of Acentrik such as being onboarded in the global data marketplace or engaging them for a custom deployment solution. 

A data- and industry-independent marketplace, that is explicitly geared to the needs of corporate customers, is available. Here, customers have proper evidence of why and for what data is used. Under the bonnet, the same core is running as with the Ocean Protocol.

The advantages described above remain. Blockchain technology is also used here, but like other specialities from the crypto world, it is clearly transferred to the background. The service is paid for in fiat currency or stable coins. In addition, the solution can be easily integrated into enterprise architectures via common APIs. Acentrik as a strategic initiative by Mercedes-Benz, this product was triggered by a corporate group's own need to make more out of its own data. Accordingly, the development team knows the needs in the corporate environment very well.   

Are you looking for new ways to monetise your data or open up new data sources for your data journey? We would be happy to support you in the realisation of suitable business cases. Feel free to contact us. 

Contact person for Germany

Stefan Grasmann

Group Head of Thought Leadership & Chief of Blockchain

Stefan Grasmann is partner and Group Head of Thought Leadership & Chief of Blockchain at Zühlke. He is responsible for the thought leadership program of Zühlke and is passionate about Blockchain technology and Decentralized Finance (DeFi).

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