by Peter Aiken, PhD with Juanita Billings MS/IS
Data represents an organization’s sole non-depletable, non-degrading, durable, strategic asset. You can’t use it up. If properly maintained, it cannot degrade over time or from use. It is, by accounting definitions, durable–persisting beyond the one-year yardstick applied by standard accounting practices. Data’s value increases as it evolves along the value chain. From business predictions, it melds into transactions and, ultimately, returns full-cycle–becoming the basis for future predictions of organizational strategy. So far, we have failed to acknowledge data’s primary potential value: fit-for-use factual information that describes an organization’s operational environment and improves decision-making. When combined, these attributes render data assets unique within the organizational repertoire. Data assets demand to be managed as professionally and aggressively as any other company asset. Objective measurements show that few organizations achieve data management success, resulting in an inability (or at least great difficulty) to exploit a strategic data advantage. In the face of ongoing data explosion, this leaves most organizations unprepared to leverage their data assets properly.