The Business of Data

Drilon Jaha
3 min readJun 5, 2023

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In today’s fast-paced, data-driven world, businesses have unprecedented access to vast amounts of information. Many organizations are investing heavily in data and AI to gain insights and a competitive advantage. However, despite these investments, organizations often struggle to realize significant returns on their overall investment. This dissatisfaction often leads to irrational decisions such as repatriating data, evaluating new technologies, segmenting consumption for operational vs. analytical workloads creating silos, or even shutting down data transformation programs. It is clear that a paradigm shift is needed, and organizations must understand how to extract value from their data by being in “the business of data.”

But what does it mean to be in “the business of data”? It entails a fundamental shift in mindset regarding data. Instead of treating data as a byproduct or a mere component, organizations should manage it as a “product”. This involves using platforms that orchestrate a network of data producers and consumers, enabling organizations to understand the true cost of creating, maintaining, optimizing, and evolving products and the value they generate for the business. To make this shift successfully, certain key ingredients are necessary.

First and foremost, organizations need a clear data product vision and strategy. The vision must encompass the definition, stated value and use of the product while a strategy must define the overall product lifecycle including the starting point which we call the minimum viable data product (MVDP). This sets the direction and goals for leveraging data as a product, which can be further enhanced and matured based on new business outcomes. Additionally, a data marketplace is essential, providing a platform where data products can be discovered, managed, consumed, and socialized to increase their utility and yield. Alongside this, a robust data product engineering platform and services are crucial to support the creation, management, and maintenance of data products. These ingredients work in harmony, fostering a shift in how the organization operates.

By enabling business domain teams to own and manage their data products, and making them available across the enterprise, organizations can truly be in “the business of data.” This shift empowers teams to take ownership of their data, driving accountability and fostering a culture of data-driven decision-making as part of product development and operations. Through this transformation, organizations can bridge the value gap, better understand the cost and value of their products, and enhance user experience and literacy.

Embracing the mindset of being in “the business of data” is crucial for organizations to unlock the full potential of their data. By making this shift, organizations can position themselves to thrive in the data-driven landscape, drive innovation, and maximize the value derived from their data investments.

In coming articles, we will take a deeper dive into the aforesaid building blocks of the “business of data” and approach for realizing measuring the cost and value of data products.

Let’s take this journey together.

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