Is Data the Currency of the 21st Century?
To state “Data is the Currency of the 21st Century” – is a bold if not a reckless statement – and one needs to question if this is a fact or fiction. Throughout history, many Items have been used as currency; for example, Rum, Shares, Bitcoins, the list goes on. The question one has to ask then: Is data now a currency?
There is no doubt that data can be a valuable asset – unfortunately, not one that is recognised by balance sheets unless the company is sold. Data can also be totally useless like when it goes out of date or becomes redundant, or is just collected, stored and not used. This reminds me of a Star Trek quote – “A library serves no purpose unless someone is using it.” Mr. Atoz, from ‘All Our Yesterdays’ episode.
I am a database expert with over 35 years of caring and managing multiple databases for a range of companies worldwide. I have been an expert witness over data. I often analyse data, and am always paid to present and massage data for companies. From my perspective there is no question of the value of data, if well used.
Current trends are showing that companies that use the data well, and grow their data Naturally, are profitable, growing and secure. Companies, that do not know how to use their data, and either try to buy data are not as stable or secure in their growth.
It is also clear that the corporate Giants e.g. Google are getting better at Valuing Real data. For example, if you search a company and go to them via Google and Google maps, this has a higher value for natural SEO in search engines that out -sourced SEO Marketers can give you. This is also the fact when other companies refer to your web site on their site – this increases both of your values in credibility with Google. Google gets the value of real data and they are fine tuning all the time on how to work out what is real and what is not.
In recent years we have watched countries lose their currency’s value e.g. Greece.
We have seen long standing businesses crumble e.g. Kodak.
We have seen share markets crumble (GFC) and Bit Coins take a beating. So, what has happened to Data while all this has been going on? Data has become more valuable. Data has enabled analysts to predict problems before they happen – as is the case in all the above examples. Research companies and Data Analysts are more in demand now than ever before in the history of man.
People want proof and as many guarantees and securities as possible. This is because we are living in such a changing world. True data if analysed correctly, can give the proof and security people are seeking, and this increases the value of data. In opposition to having data, as Spock in ‘Space Seed’ “Insufficient facts always invite danger.” and this has proven so true in recent years.
Data is of great value, but as for being a currency – Not yet. I do not discount it could be in the same vain as share markets and Bit coins. But at this stage, data could only be an asset. I believe the closer Man gets to Utopia, that information will be the closest item to an asset – however, I do not believe that we live in Utopia – Just Yet.
Cate Schafing: firstname.lastname@example.org