Monetization Challenges

Why is it so hard to turn information assets into new innovative products?

Every business today generates potentially valuable data and content—it is no longer the exclusive domain of media companies and information providers. And with modern enterprise technology getting smarter, faster and cheaper, both incumbents and entrants are responding to new opportunities—but not always successfully. As they try to turn passive or underutilized assets into new revenue streams, they often face some of these strategic, organizational and technological challenges:

Strategic Challenges

Opportunities Exist but in New, Unfamiliar Markets
For companies outside the information services industry, the data and content being generated (or processed) are generally by-products of their core activity. The monetization opportunity represents a new business area with revenue models, product offerings and regulatory constraints the company may be unfamiliar with.

So Many Possibilities, So Little Time
There are many ways companies can leverage their information assets—from selling data to offering productivity tools and software that integrates into their customer businesses. But companies must decide where they want to play in the value chain, which in turn raises a number of questions about the value of their data, their products and services, internal resources and technology choices. With so many options and implications, the problem is often about determining quickly which product(s) to pursue before the window of opportunity closes. Without a thoughtful prioritization process, companies find themselves in a state of analysis-paralysis or, at the other extreme, in situations where projects are partially vetted simply to be cancelled later in the process.

Organizational Challenges

Decisions are Driven by Technology not Insight
It is not uncommon for information providers—well-established and emerging alike—to kick off product development before identifying a genuine customer problem or a “job to be done”. Driven by technology capabilities, the new products often present complex or unnecessary features, and prove too detached from actual end-user needs. Executives or entrepreneurs trying to monetize the data opportunity then find themselves in a tough spot: finding a problem to the solution they just developed.

Moving up the Value Chain Requires New Skills and Expertise
Real opportunities for many content providers are to move up the value chain. This entails building off of existing content and moving to productivity tools and workflow solutions that are more embedded in customer’s businesses. Such migration promises new revenue streams, higher margins and longer-term relationships. But this generally calls for more sophisticated technology and an intimate knowledge of customers’ business processes—expertise not always found in-house.

Technological Challenges

Data and Content are Locked Away
In established companies that have investments in prior-generation technology, data is often siloed in legacy applications—designed to keep information locked within the company’s firewall. Turning these assets into revenue-generating products may prove very costly and present a number of operational and technical issues.

Traditional Infrastructure Lacks Scalability
Subscription has undoubtedly become the dominant business model for B2B information providers. But traditional publishers or companies new to the data space are generally not equipped to deliver information as a service (IaaS). Their IT infrastructure lacks the flexibility and scalability needed to support self-service subscription and access, recurring transactions, large spikes in data volume, and increased business velocity.