Putting value on Big Data

Data is clearly valuable to the companies that collect it. But how valuable is it to the wider economy?

Inside the Enterprise: Data is clearly important to businesses of all types, but its value remains largely intangible.

Lots of companies perhaps all companies collect data in some form or another, whether it is customer information via CRM, mailing lists, transaction information or sales figures.

Then there the companies that build a business analysing and manipulating data: credit rating agencies, trend spotters, even social media consultants. And of course there are the professional services, legal and IT firms that help firms to manage their data, store it, and ensure that only the right people have access to it.

The value of data to others, though, is harder to capture. In some cases, such as credit rating agencies, the value of data is how much consumers, or companies, are willing to pay for it.

So far, though, companies have tended to look at data as, at best, a business enabler think Tesco's Clubcard or even, as an unavoidable cost. Data is only rarely seen as an asset, and it certainly ranks below cash, stock or even goodwill when it comes to calculating the value of a business.

That, though, could be shortsighted, according to Cebr, a business consultancy. For the second year in a row, Cebr, working with data analytics company SAS, has tried to put a value on data, not just in company vaults, but across the economy.

Cebr's methodology is deceptively simple: it categories the value of data according to the cost of collecting it, its market value, and the income it can generate.

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