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Companies to recoup Big Data costs by selling it

Driven by cost, but compliance could become an issue

The cost of storing and managing Big Data will lead to almost a third of businesses trying to monetise that data by 2016, says analyst Gartner.

The analyst said 30 percent of companies would be looking to trade their information assets in the near future. However, a "lack of expertise" in handling Big Data and developing information products at those companies will create an opportunity for the growth of specialist intermediaries, acting as "information brokers or resellers", Gartner said.

Doug Laney, a Gartner analyst, said, "The need to justify the expense of accumulating and managing huge volumes of data has led many organisations to consider monetising or productising their information assets."

The expense is illustrated by recent research from rival analyst house IDC. IDC predicts the global Big Data technology and services market will grow at a 31.7 percent compound annual growth rate - around seven times the rate of the overall ICT market.

The IDC "Worldwide Big Data Technology and Services 2012-2016 Forecast" report shows that Big Data market revenues will reach $23.8 billion by 2016. The report also says there will be a big shortage of Big Data skills at firms.

But Gartner's Laney says some companies are already moving to make the most of their information assets. He said, "For example several retailers are already generating millions of dollars per year in incremental revenue by placing online their point-of-sale and other data for business partners to subscribe to."

Laney added, "Other organisations are reselling publicly available data or are launching new information-based products in the insurance and financial markets."

Since many businesses are ill-equipped to develop and introduce information-based products, said Gartner, "information resellers" will appear to help organisations develop and execute information asset monetisation strategies. Gartner anticipates the appearance of "information product managers" to lead these efforts internally at companies.

The new opportunities for monetising data will lead to suppliers launching new cloud-based products that collect the maximum amount of usage, location and system data to resell to subscribers, said Gartner.

Laney said, "Consumers and businesses must recognise that their personal usage, location, profile and activity data has a tangible market value. They should guard it and ensure that when they do share it they receive good services, products or cash for it."

But, Laney warned, "Businesses monetising information assets need to be sensitive to the reputational risk of a public backlash against such practices, that may in turn lead to a tighter regulatory environment."

Recently, he said, the US Federal Trade Commission had issued subpoenas to major information brokers to disclose how they collect, use and protect personal information.

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