“There’s gold in them thar hills,” cried Yosemite Sam in the old Bugs Bunny cartoons, but he never got to enjoy it.
“There’s gold in them thar data,” Sam might say today. But he’d be equally disappointed unless he was able to navigate the host of data-sharing challenges that we detailed in previous articles in this series.
Here’s Sam’s conundrum in a nutshell. Data sharing, by definition, involves multiple parties that tend to coalesce around ecosystems. As these ecosystems grow, they share more types of data, and more detailed data, among the members of an expanding community. They also develop solutions that address an expanding range of use cases, some of which were totally unforeseen when the data was originally generated or shared. Each of these factors introduces its own set of risk-value tradeoffs. The extent of the tradeoffs depends on the specific data-sharing capabilities of the underlying platform.
The good news is that the technology companies that enable many ecosystems either have developed or are developing a host of technological solutions to facilitate data sharing by mitigating risk, enhancing value, and reducing the sources of friction that inhibit sharing. These solutions shift the tradeoff frontier between value, on the one hand, and risk and friction, on the other, toward value. Forward-looking management teams should educate themselves on the issues at stake and the technology solutions coming into the marketplace.