Information as an economic good: the next information age stage

The next stage of the information age is about turning access to information into an economic good as such

We have been living in the information age for decades now. However, since a few years something has changed.

While the information age used to be seen as a post-industrial economic reality brought upon us by the computerization of information and leading to a connected knowledge economy, a new stage or even new information age stage is here, requiring us to look at information management differently.

Information, digitization and knowledge as such are meaningless. They only acquire meaning and value when they are put in the context of innovation, enablement, value creation, human interaction and processes, to name a few. And they acquire monetary value for the next, real-time information age stage.

Data and information: from business asset to new source of revenues

There is a paradigm shift whereby information first became a core business asset for an information-centric and customer-centric (or better: stakeholder-centric) organization.

While many are still going through this stage of really understanding and deriving the value which can be unlocked through a smart use of information, the paradigm shift is far from over. In fact, for many it still has to begin as they are only starting to connect their own information silos and find the value in the data they “have”.

The real shift is that information is not just a cornerstone of business in a digital economy and an essential piece of the digital transformation economy.

It is becoming more than an enabler of value, customer experience and business growth. It is even becoming more than an intangible business asset. Information is rapidly and increasingly becoming an economic good and a very tangible business asset. The challenge is clear: those that haven’t connected their critical data yet and aren’t able to make sense of ever more unstructured data will have a hard time to catch up.

Access to and context of information are key differentiators and economic goods for those organizations that are extremely mature on the level of information management, data management and cognitive intelligence in an API and algorithm world.

Data and information, often created through the interconnection, understanding and contextualization of other information, is becoming a key economic asset for which other organizations pay as it is the currency of a far more automated, self-learning, real-time and connected knowledge ecosystem where devices are added to the mix of a new information economy and data lakes and pipelines.

Obviously ‘information’ in the broadest possible sense and content are already ‘products’ and economic goods in many industries. But that’s not what we mean here; in this new stage of the age of information the nascent providers and sellers of information and access to it are not the usual suspects but potentially everyone, your business too.

Developing such new monetization and business models based upon highly connected and intelligent information is one of the goals of true digital business transformation.

Moving from information management to information monetization

To get to this next information age stage in a de facto hybrid reality, organizations need to step up their pace in order to

  1. get the essence of their information management strategy right, starting with the very basics,
  2. cherish information and data as assets, just as customer experience and employee engagement are intangible assets,
  3. look at how and where they can go turn – digital – information into business value (savings, revenues, better customer experience, innovative models and offerings), and
  4. rethink business approaches and see where and how to reach the level where information becomes a source of revenue as such or creates new information assets through new technologies and smart information management approaches.
  5. look at how information can help in bridging digital and physical worlds as the lines blur from various perspectives (including the customer perspective) and the days of one-size-fits-all in ECM are over and done with.

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