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Data is the fuel of everything Digital

Clive Humby, a UK Mathematician and architect of Tesco's Clubcard, is widely credited as the first to coin the phrase: “Data is the new oil".

Since then, Big Data has gone galactic. We're all mostly familiar with the mind-boggling predictions. See this Forbes article with 20 facts (two copied here, as examples):

  • Data volumes are exploding, more data has been created in the past two years than in the entire previous history of the human race.

  • Data is growing faster than ever before and by the year 2020, about 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet.

In May 2017 The Economist published an article which neatly summarizes the situation:

"Smartphones and the internet have made data abundant, ubiquitous and far more valuable. Whether you are going for a run, watching TV or even just sitting in traffic, virtually every activity creates a digital trace [data]. As devices from watches to cars connect to the internet, the volume is increasing: some estimate that a self-driving car will generate 100 gigabytes per second."

Now take a look at this picture from McKinsey.

That’s a lot of connected devices and a lot of created data. IDC Estimates that by 2020, business transactions on the internet - B2B and B2C – will reach 450 billion per day.

Data is not just big, it’s huge… and what’s most interesting, we're only just getting started. McKinsey in Dec 2016, states that the initial hype around Big data may have actually underestimated its overall impact. In 2011 Marc Andreessen’s - the co-founder of Netscape - famously said “Software is eating the world.” I'd argue, in 2017 we can confidently rephrase this to “Data is eating the world.”

The value of Data

Lets take a look at the companies that excel in collecting and using data.

Alphabet, (the parent company of Google), Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft are now the five most valuable companies in the world. They collectively racked up over $25bn in net profit in the first quarter of 2017 alone. Together the Market Cap of these firms exceeds the annual value of the Russian economy!

Take a look at this BCG graphic, showing how data driven companies have become the most valuable over the past ten years, as the current top five race to be the first trillion dollar company. It's more than a coincidence that these companies are all masters of data.

In my eyes this is a clear testament to the value of a data in the Enterprise. I'll be exploring this more, by industry vertical in future blogs.

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