July 2022 | Q&A Spotlight

Q&A Spotlight: Data expert Doug Laney on publishing his new book, ‘Data Juice’

Business leaders need ideas on how to monetize data. Laney’s new book offers 101 ways. 

Q&A Spotlight: Data expert Doug Laney on publishing his new book, ‘Data Juice’

Data monetization doesn’t just mean selling your data—it means finding new revenue streams by using data and analytics. But how? That’s what Doug Laney covers in his new book, Data Juice: 101 Real-World Stories of Organizations Squeezing Value from Their (and Others’) Data Assets. As the title suggests, Laney compiles 101 stories to help inspire business leaders and demonstrate innovative ways they can use their data—a critical characteristic of becoming a digital business.  

As an innovation fellow at West Monroe, Laney helps our clients increase their data fluency and design new ways of using their data. He also helps West Monroe’s data teams create the right data offerings for our clients. We talked with Doug about his new book—what prompted him to write it, what he can learn, and why more than 70 business leaders have endorsed it.  

What prompted you to write a second book? 

In my first book, Infonomics, I used dozens of industry examples I’d been compiling for years to illustrate how organizations are monetizing, managing, and measuring data to treat it as an actual asset. These stories depict ways that data and analytics are being used in innovative and high-value ways. This compilation has grown to some 500 stories over the years. We use selected stories in data monetization workshops and on client engagements to inspire (or encourage) them into putting their data to work—in other words, squeezing more value from their data. Clients increasingly have been asking for a compilation of these stories to share with their business leaders, so that’s why I wrote Data Juice.  

But I didn’t think it was enough to share these stories alone, so I also decided to include expert commentaries on them from colleagues, thought leaders, and practitioners around the world. Between compiling these stories and the expert analyses, it was more like herding cats than writing a book!  

Who should read the book? 

Data Juice is not just for data and analytics leaders, but just as much for business leaders and executives. The book focuses on the data used, how it was used, and what the hard business benefits were—usually expressed in dollars, euros, etc. It’s not a book about data technologies but rather about data-driven innovation.  

What will readers learn? 

Both data and business leaders will learn how to go beyond building pretty pie charts and dashing dashboards and really deploy data to transform business functions or business models. The book also encourages and enables leaders to look beyond their own industry for winning ideas that can be readily adapted to their own business.  

What do you think most business leaders are missing about data monetization? 

Most businesses are missing that data monetization is about more than just selling data. It’s about generating measurable economic value from data. We’ve identified a dozen distinct patterns of data monetization, including measurably improving business processes and their associated KPIs, bartering with data, and a method I call “inverted data monetization” that involves introducing your customers to others’ products and services instead of violating privacy regulations by exposing your customer data directly. Some businesses have even monetized their data by borrowing against its valuation. 

We find that companies get too fixated on one way to deploy data, not really realizing that data is a non-rivalrous, non-depleting asset—meaning it can and should be used simultaneously and continuously in multiple ways. 

The book is a compilation of stories. Which stories stood out to you?  

There are so many stories about improving sales, reducing fraud, improving reliability, and reducing costs via data and analytics. But one of my favorites is that of a 16-year-old in the UK who developed a solution for helping Chinese parents also give their children Western names that match desired personal characteristics, while avoiding all-too-frequent embarrassing names like Cinderella, Gandalf, or Rolex. She basically invented the digitization of baby naming and is responsible for naming hundreds of thousands of babies. It’s a fun and obscure example, but the concept of integrating open data, social media, and analytics shouldn’t be overlooked by any organization.  

And there’s one data-for-good story I really like about how the Netherlands Research Institute developed a solution to predictively track endangered rhinos in South Africa by tracking smaller animals that comingle with them. This has helped reduce poaching by 15% in the first three years following a 9,000% increase in poaching the prior seven years. This idea is applicable for any organization that wants to anticipate the “movements” of their key customers or prospects.  

Where can people find the book? 

You can buy a copy of the book on Amazon today.  

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