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Treat data like cars

Europe is proclaiming the arrival of a data-centric world, yet its business community remains hesitant. What’s going wrong? Instead of European companies, hyperscalers from the US and China are driving innovation in the cloud (Clemons et al. 2019). At the 2019 Digital Gipfel, her excellence German Chancellor Merkel is urging German companies to catch up: “We are behind schedule […] Substantial financial resources must be invested to [catch up …]. If we let this element of value creation be taken out of our hands, then it will be a rude awakening for Germany as an industrial country” (Merkel 2019, at 10:35 and 13:17, link). 

How to kickstart data-centricity in business? How to flip the switch? One trick would be to treat it as “business-as-usual.” Don’t treat data as an alien, instead of handling it as a traditional product like cars for example – and Germany is excellent at cars. Apply tried-and-true management solutions and best practice to win with data.  A first step would be “Product Management,” assign a true product manager for data. 

This is an insight shared by Crosby & Schlueter Langdon in a brief summary for the American Marketing Association (link): “Managers who are conceptualizing data as a product can maximize its multi-functional potential” (2019). The authors summarize their observations as data scientists and business executives working with a wide range of companies and in high-profile studies, such as “The Wall Street Journal Management Top 250” (2018) 

References

Clemons, E.K., H. Krcmar, S. Hermes, and J. Choi. 2019. American Domination of the Net: A Preliminary Ethnographic Exploration of Causes, Economic Implications for Europe, and Future Prospects. 52nd Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences (HICSS), DOI: 10.24251/HICSS.2019.737
Crosby, L., and C. Schlueter Langdon. 2019. Data is a Product. American Marketing Association, Marketing News (April), link
Merkel, A. 2019. Speech at Digital Gipfel (November 29th), link
The Wall Street Journal2019Management Top 250 (November 30th), link