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Think Your Data Exhaust is Worthless? Here Are 3 Reasons You’d be Wrong

Hank WeghorstIn this special guest feature, Hank Weghorst, Chief Technology Officer at Avention, believes the emergence of “data exhaust” is a trend that will continue to pick up momentum. Data exhaust is data that has already been produced and used by one source and then instead of being thrown out with the trash, is reused by a third-party. While most companies are collecting information for their own purposes, there is the potential to share these data leftovers. . A veteran of many high-tech start-ups, Hank Weghorst specializes in creating and growing business software companies. Since the 1990’s, Hank has founded a number of venture-backed companies, serving in CEO and executive advisory capacities. Under his direction, these companies received more than $100M in start-up and follow-on financing, with several culminating in successful IPOs and acquisitions. Hank currently serves as an executive advisor to technology start-ups as well as several university business school advisory committees. He holds a B.E.D. from Texas A&M University, and an M.S. from Cornell University.

There’s no denying the impact of big data on business. Data improves product development and customer service, informs strategic decisions and marketing activities, and enhances sales effectiveness. Data is currency, and it has tremendous value beyond its initial application. Even the seemingly unusable or unimportant byproduct data your company stores – often known as data exhaust – can have significant value, if you know what to do with it. Here are three ways organizations can maximize the value of their data exhaust.

1 – Monetize your data exhaust

One company’s data exhaust just may be another’s data mine. A single data set can be analyzed in countless ways depending on the specific insights a business needs. The data your business considers unimportant may have great value to others.

Consider a company that analyzes logistics data to optimize shipping. The exhaust from that data set could help improve population trend analysis for another company. Similarly, a business designing energy efficient building materials might find value in the data exhaust from a company that analyzes temperature control information for heating and cooling systems.

Rather than storing unused data, why not sell it? Every business is looking for data intelligence. Capitalize on this opportunity to free up space in your data repositories and create a new revenue stream. Selling data exhaust is relatively easy. Once your organization has inventoried data assets and identified data with potential value, you can offer it for sale directly or through an industry-specific data exchange.

2 –  Share your data surplus

We learn from a young age that sharing is good. This is true for toys and data. By holding on to unused data, you’re not only clogging up your data center repositories, you’re also wasting an opportunity to nurture relationships with other teams or organizations and improve enterprise functions such as sales, marketing and human resources. How? By sharing your data exhaust with other organizations with similar interests.

To enable the exchange of data, industries such as healthcare, education and credit have dedicated data consortium networks where these organizations can share data for the purpose of improving decision-making processes.

If you’re intent on keeping your data, you can still share it through an established consortium within your industry. Or your company can work with other similar organizations to develop new consortiums for your specific purpose or market.

3 – Donate your data

Most organizations have established methods for giving back, but donating their data byproduct isn’t typically one of them. It can be a challenge to figure out the best way to open source existing data exhaust, but doing so can produce significant benefits for everyone involved. If your organization chooses to make an open source solution available to the industry, it can enhance your company’s brand and reputation as a leader in your market. In the right hands, your data contributions could be used to develop new solutions or make a profound impact on the industry.

With digital activity producing a significant amount of structured and unstructured data every day, data exhaust has quickly become a hot commodity. For companies looking for competitive differentiators, data exhaust holds enormous potential value. Likewise, the ways companies choose to handle their unused data could produce additional value in the form of new revenue streams and the opportunity to enhance big data’s impact on the enterprise.

 

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