Competing and Winning in the Data Economy

September 19th, 2019

This article is by David Couchon and originally appeared on the Qlik Blog here:


In February of this year, the World Economic Forum published a research paper titled Digital Platforms and Ecosystems which makes direct reference to how technology platforms enable the data economy.Notice the reference to: #data economy, #ecosystems, and #platforms and follow this thread.

Let’s define what an ecosystem is in a business context. In his seminal work titled Predators and Prey; The New Ecology of Competition, James F. Moore outlines, in detail, the definition of business ecosystems and how the ecology of business ecosystems thrives or dies. Moore draws on parallels from nature; how things compete for resources, the need to adapt to changing environments, protecting territory, establishing dominance, disseminating information, maintaining balance. His research established a shift in understanding for how cooperative networks in a value chain work to help us innovate.

The data economy is founded by the overriding principle that data is an asset – the new oil. The data economy is a by-product of how companies have catalyzed new ways of doing business in our digital world. In the data economy, data ecosystems are created and exploited to make money or save money.

So what does a data ecosystem look like? Like any ecosystem, there are biotic and abiotic parts (think - humans and machines). There is a lifecycle to data; data can be at rest, in motion or at work. There are producers (quants, data scientists, data architects), consumers (analysts, executives) and decomposers (data stewards, DBAs, testers) in this ecosystem too. At Qlik, our Consulting Advisory Services team has outlined eight (8) primary capability areas to focus on to maintain a healthy ecology in your data ecosystem. These categories can be found below:

Our very own Murray Grigo-McMahon eloquently asserts the notion of the data ecosystem in his recent blog.

Competition in the data ecosystem is fierce. We must create defensible positions to sustain competitive advantage. We also must stay healthy, protect ourselves, make calculated decisions, adapt and innovate.

Key challenges to focus on:

  1. Is the ecology of our data ecosystems balanced?
  2. Are we invested in the right capabilities?
  3. Are we improving our ability to attract and project value?
  4. Are we maximizing the asset value of data?
  5. How do we quickly fill gaps, to limit risk and optimize returns on investments?

To effectively compete, focus cannot remain inward. We must look outward to attract the right partners, suppliers and customers that will support and grow the ecology of our data ecosystems. The true value of our data ecosystems is realized when our investments have been optimized to enable us to drive more meaningful interactions across the value chain. Our defensible position rests on our platform.

We see customers using our platform to productize information assets, extend data and information to customers, suppliers and partners. Qlik makes bringing data and insights to market faster and cheaper than anyone else. We enable new ways to interact and create value.

Qlik enables inversion. Inversion is a shift from internal focus to external focus, from supply-based economies of scale (as seen in the 2rd industrial revolution) to demand based (as seen in the 4th industrial revolution). When our customers using Qlik invert, the locus of value creation moves from inside the firm to outside. The governed, open platform architecture is required to facilitate these shifts.When inversion works, a community blossoms, the ecosystem co-adapts, and the network effect compounds the value of the underlying technology investments.