Posted on: March 1, 2021 | 2 min read

Data is NOT the New Oil

Data is NOT the New Oil was the headline from a section within Doug Laney's presentation of" How to Monetize Your Data Assets and Gain Competitive Advantage," hosted by CCG.

"It's hard to go a day or a week without somebody spouting on about data being the new oil, pun intended." Doug Laney states, "When I hear that, I say, 'Yeah well, You get the idea that data has value, but you're missing the point that data has unique economic characteristics that makes it very very different than oil.'"

The phrase was coined by British Mathematician and data science entrepreneur Clive Humby in 2006. Clive states, Data is the new oil. It's valuable, but if unrefined, it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc. to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity, so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value".

Unlike oil which depletes once it's used, data takes on many different characteristics. In that regards, data is:

  • Non-rivalrous
  • Non-depleting
  • Regenerative
  • Nearly limitless
  • Easily transported
  • Cheaper to store
  • Easier to steal
  • Doesn't degrade
  • More ecological
  • Has no alternative

Both oil and data are similar in that they are not valuable until transformed. Oil isn't as valuable until it's fueling an engine, for example, and data isn't as valuable until it's being analyzed. While there are similarities between the two terms, the most substantial one is that oil is consumed and data is created.

"You're typically in a position to capture more data about whenever and wherever you're using that data." – Doug Laney, Author of Infonomics

So whether you are a fan of the phrase or not, know that oil and data aren't exactly a one-to-one comparison. For businesses looking to fuel their analytics with effective data, take this data and analytics maturity assessment to see how you rank.

Written by CCG, an organization in Tampa, Florida, that helps companies become more insights-driven, solve complex challenges and accelerate growth through industry-specific data and analytics solutions.

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