Much has been made about the fact that data has replaced oil as the world’s most valuable asset. If this is true – and the arguments are quite convincing – how does a CEO monetize their data? Is extracting value from data as simple as “pulling it out of the ground and selling it”? 

Alas, no.  But there is a silver lining: generating enterprise value from data often does not entail selling data sets, so the ability to pull this lever extends to many more firms than is immediately apparent. 

This article will explore the dynamics driving this reality and provide guidance to CEOs looking to craft a value creation story with their Boards.


A brief lesson in history


Before articulating how firms monetize information, it’s helpful to first look back to 2010. As many will recall, this was the era when seemingly every corporate CEO and startup ended their strategy presentation with “… and when we do this, we will produce a ton of valuable data we’ll be able to sell.”  

For many firms, this did produce incremental gains: managers were better able to see how businesses had performed in the recent past and, in more advanced firms, could identify hot spots where operations could be improved. Many companies, in fact, are at exactly this juncture today, standing up Redshift or Snowflake instances to power Tableau instances – all of which they should indeed do.

But executive insights into recent performance do not fully explain data being more valuable than oil.  What’s missing?


Unleashing the full power of data


The answer coming into focus hinges on the transition to truly data-driven operations – being able to seamlessly inform the hundreds of thousands of interactions that happen each day with your proprietary data set, is a dynamic that, when accomplished, can turbocharge productivity and drive vastly superior customer experiences.

To visualize this, it’s helpful to evoke the metaphor of a tree. In this construct, dashboards play the role of leaves – important, but in isolation, not enough. To unleash the full power of data, the branches and trunk must also be activated (i.e. the power of data must be extended to all employees).

This is achieved by doing three things:

  1. Cleansing and unifying operational data
  2. Making data visible to the software applications that power business operations
  3. Attach this data to intelligent workflow and, where applicable, automation


How this will change operational performance?


The impact of completing these three steps is immense. It is, for example, the difference between simply telling sales reps to sell more of a product versus providing them a list of clients who, on that day, are most likely to buy specific products based on a set of complex, data-powered conclusions. Or the difference between allowing your logistics manager to find a carrier for a load versus automatically finding an empty container on the lane you need at exactly the time you need it. 

The three steps listed above, in addition to being the key to application-embedded intelligence, also represent the foundation of both RPA and AI / ML, areas that are now genuinely gaining traction far beyond Amazon, Google and Facebook. 

At Infosys Consulting, this is an area we are passionate about and we’d love to discuss it with you in more detail. 


Mark Livingston

Mark Livingston

Managing Partner & Global Head, Infosys Consulting

Mark joined technology leader Infosys in December 2018 to lead its thriving global Consulting business.  As Managing Partner, he guides the firm’s overall strategy and direction, leads a global network of 3,000 highly-talented consultants, works hands-on with clients that are some of the biggest and most well-known brands in the world, and drives the organization’s growth agenda and transformation into an innovative digital services leader.

Mark is a highly-experienced consulting leader who spent much of his career at Deloitte, A T Kearny and Cognizant.  He has worked with top-tier clients across a number of industry sectors on large-scale transformations, board-level strategy and turn-around programs, and was the chief architect in building a global consulting organization into a $1 billion business for Cognizant.  

Mark started his career in the United States Air Force where he was a nuclear missile launch officer.  After the military, Mark then spent 13 years at A.T. Kearney where he was the global leader of the strategic IT and business transformation practices.  He also served as the Dallas office managing partner and eventually became the CEO for their Latin America business, based out of Sao Paulo, Brazil.

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