OPINION: Infonomics is the next big thing – Gartner
CAPE TOWN – This week Gartner hosted its annual event in South Africa, in Cape Town, where future technology trends were presented and discussed. The event was attended by leaders in technology across industries.
One of the most powerful presentations by Peter Havart-Simkin focused on the 10 emerging technologies and trends that will drive the next decade of the Internet of Things.
In this presentation, Havart-Simkin mentioned some of the already known technologies and trends.
He also highlighted something that is not yet mainstream, which is the field of infonomics. He mentioned it as the emerging trend that will have greater impact in businesses as economies adopt the Internet of Things.
What is infonomics and why does it matter? Infonomics is the emerging economic theory of information as a new asset class. It is a concept that was developed by Doug Laney, a Gartner researcher who researches the information economy. It is a discipline that includes accounting for managing and deploying information just as any other enterprise asset.
The infonomics discipline includes the process of commercialising data to create value. Almost all organisations have data, but few are able to extract value from data.
Part of the reason why infonomics matters is related to the fact that it outlines how data can be turned into useful information of commercial value. A number of organisations are hoarding valuable data that can become a treasure. Havart-Simkin said infonomics if taken seriously could make a difference between losers and winners in the information age.
Some companies are already getting value from treating data as an asset. Netflix is an organisation that treats information as an asset.
According to an infonomics book written by Laney, when Netflix decided to get into the content business, producing its own original content, it took a look at what information it had that other production houses did not.
At the time with 27million subscribers in the US and 33million worldwide, Netflix had information on 30million viewer actions per day including when a viewer pauses, rewinds, fast-forwards, 3million searches and million ratings.
It had information correlating demographics with the time of day that shows were watched and on the actors, action, genre and other descriptors, which gave Netflix a solid confidence that the US adaptation of the British version of House of Cards would be a huge hit.
Netflix uses data to inform its business decisions such as which shows to produce, markets to serve and other critical business areas. This is the secret sauce that Multi- Choice in South Africa has not understood about the Netflix success. Data treated as an asset allows Netflix to know the users and the same cannot be said about MultiChoice.
Businesses and organisations should pay attention to the message from Gartner. Based on these insights there’s a need for businesses and organisations to act now to prepare themselves for the future. Businesses will have to start appointing chief data officers (CDOs) to unlock data for economic value within their businesses.
There’s also a need for academic institutions to start adopting infonomics as a field of study that can be taught in academia to prepare graduates for the future.
Now is the time for businesses and organisations to look internally and externally for data that can ensure their future survival.
Wesley Diphoko is the founder and editor in chief of The Infonomist. He writes about infonomics, innovation and the start-up eco-system in South Africa. Follow him on Twitter: @WesleyDiphoko
The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.
– BUSINESS REPORT