The data economy — or the system that provides for the exchange of digitized information for the purpose of creating insights and value — grew in 2014, but in 2015 we’ll see it leap forward significantly. It will grow from a phenomenon that mainstream enterprises view at arm’s length as interesting to one that they embrace as a part of business as usual. The number of business and technology leaders telling us that external data is important to their business strategy has been growing rapidly — from one-third in 2012 to almost half in 2014.
Why? It’s a supply-driven phenomenon made possible by widespread digitization, mobile technology, the Internet of Things (IoT), and Hadooponomics. With countless new data sources and powerful new tools to wrest insights from their depths, organizations will scramble to use them to know their customers better and to optimize their operations beyond anything they could have done before. And while the exploding data supply will spur demand, it will also spur additional supply. Firms will be taking a hard look at their “data exhaust” and wondering if there is a market for new products and services based on their unique set of data. But in many cases, the value in the data is not that people will be willing to pay money for bulk downloads or access to raw data, but in data products that complement a firm’s existing offerings.
Together, with my colleagues Jennifer Belissent and Fatemeh Khatibloo, we expect new data economy trends to have significant impact in 2015. Herewith are two of our predictions:
  • Data services become a must-have add-on to product sales.Traditional product offerings will expand to routinely include data services. Sensor-embedded tractors generate data to power John Deere & Companys Farm Insights. LexisNexis offers analytics and benchmarking as part of its enterprise legal management software. Valuing data assets and pricing data services will be arbitrary as best practices in data valuation have yet to emerge, but firms won’t let that stop them.  Next year will see data services move from being an interesting play by innovative companies to a mainstream aspect of product offerings, as “Do you want data services with that?” becomes a familiar refrain.
  • The data economy expands to data science and data service markets. Now that data scientists can in effect publish algorithms to an “app store”, they can monetize their research, knowledge, and creativity.  Data analysts and data scientists will publish application programming interfaces (APIs) to Azure Marketplace web services, making insights all the more accessible. Consumer analysts will accelerate time-to-value by searching and buying APIs related to their areas of need, rather than researching and building them.
And while concerns about data security and privacy will persist and remain important factors in the expansion of the data economy, they will have only a minimal braking effect on its momentum in 2015.
If you want to know more about these trends, you can either download the full report or contact us. You can also check out a full list of Forrester's upcoming Predictions 2015 reports. Do you disagree with the above statements? In your opinion, what will happen in 2015? Share your thoughts in comment section.