The Curious Case of a Data Broker

Data is becoming an asset to many companies now. The value is known by almost everybody nowadays. Only a while ago I wrote this article about the value of data on the balance sheet. This article was to set determine the financial value of data and the difficulty that comes with this “valuation”. A lot constructive discussion was unleashed on LinkedIn. But a real answer stayed away. It is complex to determine the value of data. However there are companies that trade in data and make enormous amounts of profit from this business model. Have you ever heard about the data broker?

The Data Broker according to Gartner

Before we dive deeper into this kind of business I want to get the definition of a data broker clear for everybody. So how does Gartner define this role in the data world?

A Data Broker is a  business that aggregates information from a variety of sources; processes it to enrich, cleanse or analyze it; and licenses it to other organizations. Data brokers can also license another company’s data directly, or process another organization’s data to provide them with enhanced results. The Data is typically accessed via an application programming interface (API), and frequently involves subscription type contracts. The Data is not “sold”, but rather it is licensed for particular or limited uses. (A data broker is also sometimes known as an information broker, syndicated data broker, or information product company.) by Gartner

What is your Data worth? 

The net worth of your data is hard to determine. The answer to this question is only simple if you rely on the basic principles of capitalism. The balance between demand an supply generates the worth. Data brokers are the one who bring demand and supply together.

Why?

The profession of data broker is of course a profession of this time. Selling information is not new but the amounts of digital information available are enormous and so are the possible applications of this data. It is a huge business with 200 billion reasons to be in. This market will expand in the next couple of years. More and more data is getting released on the web. Ready to grab by the data brokers or companies who are willing to sell this to others. Of course regulation will follow such as GDPR but this is just the beginning.