Three Degrees of Information Value

June 07, 2016

Contributor: Heather Pemberton Levy

Are you getting the most value out of your organization's information? Uncover the probable and potential value.

What is your enterprise’s most valuable asset? In a tug-of-war to determine lasting value, information is most likely to prevail against your other assets. Information’s ultimate value is only limited by your vision for applying it.

Consider a utility company. Its field service information may be used for its primary purpose: to optimize the scheduling of service technicians. Or, the utility provider could use this information more broadly for other applications such as predictive parts ordering, determining the optimal mix of parts and tools for each service truck, predicting customer churn, or negotiating with suppliers. It could even sell or license it to suppliers, partners, or related businesses.

“ Unlike most of your enterprise’s other assets, information isn’t depleted after it’s consumed.”

“Organizations that identify and plan alternative ways to leverage existing information assets are inherently growing their own market value,” said Douglas Laney, vice president and distinguished analyst at Gartner. “Enterprises should innovate around information assets which have large gaps between their realized value and potential value. But of course this first requires that they’re able to measure these gaps.”

Assess your information's value

Most information assets have abundant potential, beyond the utility for which they were originally produced. Unlike most of your enterprise’s other assets, information isn’t depleted after it’s consumed.

Gartner analyst Doug Laney explains the three degrees of information value.

Mr. Laney stressed that even “dark data” (data that has been languishing or is underutilized) has probable and potential value.

Identify assets with wide value gaps

Your next step in the assessment is to identify the gaps in value. For each data asset that you evaluate, you will find a gap between information performance and information vision:

Information performance gap: This is the difference between the realized value of an information asset and its probable value. For example, the utility company’s field data might identify failing components and reduce their downtime, but systems under development aren’t yet in place to predict failures.

Information vision gap: This is the difference between probable and potential information value. For example, even after the utility company has predictive maintenance systems in place, it might be missing out on opportunities to license the information to complementary organizations.

“CIOs and chief data officers (CDOs) should periodically apply information valuation methods against the organization’s key information assets to improve information management discipline,” said Mr. Laney. “Moreover these methods can also be applied as a basis for planning and funding business and IT initiatives.”  

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