It may have once been true that ‘money makes the world go round’, but in a world where digital transformation, open data, and data security are top of everyone’s mind, this belief needs to be updated. In fact, it is now data that is incredibly valuable, for it’s more than a resource or commodity that can be traded at face value.

Data sits at the heart of business decision-making, driving conversations that keep the world turning. At the same time, however, data is complex; it grows and changes with time – behaving much more like an ecosystem than your typical resource.

Data: an evolving ecosystem

There’s more to data than the rows of a spreadsheet or data points on a chart, and it’s essential that organisations realise this in order to keep the potential of their data alive. Data drives business.

As such, organisations (as a whole) need to have a deep understanding of the impact that data will have when it comes to making better business decisions. It is also critical that businesses view their data as an evolving system, and not simply as set of artefacts that can be used occasionally as needed.

Individuals use these tools and participate in systems – but they are not the only ones. Like an ecosystem, a system of data involves many direct and indirect participants, such as humans, bots and intelligent agents, digital services and automated activities. For the data ecosystem, the exchanges and learnings that take place between all participants augments the human and machine intelligence involved, further increasing the value of the system.

Supply and demand

The value of these data-centric ecosystems lies in the benefits that can be uncovered and applied to the business itself. Business Intelligence and data analytics tools play an important role in the data ecosystem, and can be used to assess the value and impact that data has on the business.

As people engage more with data and the process of data analytics, it can enhance decision-making across the board. By continuing to engage with analysis, workers can also improve their data literacy, further providing value to the business as a whole, leading to better decision-making down the line.

Ecosystems thrive when all elements work together; the same can be said when we approach data as an ecosystem. The internal and external elements at play all need to interact in order for benefits to be seen across the business. With so many demands being placed on businesses and employees to perform, it is critical that the role data plays is understood, acknowledged and respected.