Let’s start with the obvious question: what is data? From a publisher’s perspective, data is content within journals, books, articles, websites, and blog posts. Industry leaders tell us, ‘Data is the new oil’ and ‘Information is the new petroleum.’ Yet, data by itself has little meaning.
But that’s not the dilemma. Instead, it’s what to do with all that data. How can we use data to its full potential, deriving meaning and value from it?
How can we use data to its full potential, deriving meaning and value from it?
If we think of data less as the new oil and more as the land that contains the oil, the comparison becomes sharper. You suspect that an area of land holds something of value beneath the surface, be it oil, gas or a precious metal; your job is to get to it and capitalize on its value. In much the same way, publishers need to access and process data to reveal actionable insights and gain value.
Fortunately, businesses can now collect and analyze data with greater speed and in larger quantities than ever before. We have moved away from the limitations of structured data and toward the more open realms of sophisticated algorithms and the cloud. Such advances in technology have empowered us to extract real value from data, and the results have never been more in demand.
What’s standing in the way of understanding data? Our imaginations and our ability to innovate. We must transform these resources into real business value and give customers the information they need in ways that serve them best. Some publishers are doing this already, but most need to play catch-up.
Machines are great at processing data at lightning speed, but as yet no computer has formulated an original idea. For that, you need a uniquely human ingredient, gut instinct. Fortunately, intuition still has a place in the world of publishing. Machines are here not to replace us, but to help us and, in doing so, to make us more powerful.
According to World Economic Forum Executive Chairman Klaus Schwab, we are entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution. He states: “We stand on the brink of a technological revolution that will fundamentally alter the way we live, work, and relate to one another. In its scale, scope, and complexity, the transformation will be unlike anything humankind has experienced before.”
It’s no longer simply business as usual; it’s time to adapt and embrace the new. We face a dilemma: shall we watch from the sidelines or shall we start digging to unearth those resources, discover their value, and benefit from the possibilities?
Our world is changing, and we must change with it. Our willingness to tap into the value within our data will differentiate the pioneers from the laggards, the winners from the losers.