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Data and Analytics Strategy Predictions Through 2021

by Doug Laney  |  December 19, 2016  |  5 Comments

Several colleagues and I just published our strategy predictions for data and analytics leaders: Predicts 2017: Licensing, Legal and Language Lessons for Data and Analytics Leaders. These are not predictions on technology, but rather on the drivers of behavior behind organizations monetizing, managing and measuring the increasing wealth of information assets available.

We believe that as information becomes an acknowledged (if not yet formally recognized) business asset, questions of its ownership, rights, monetization and valuation, along with how to communicate effectively about information, will become top of mind for data and analytics leaders.

Based on discussions we have had with thousands of clients over the past year, we’ve made a few key observations that portend some significant and interesting changes, including:

  • Most organizations are ineffective in communicating data and analytics related concepts across departments, resulting in suboptimal management and utilization of information.
  • Some major software vendors contractually prohibit users from accessing or extracting their own organization’s data using methods other than the vendor’s software itself.
  • Most business and analytics leaders do an insufficient job of legally protecting their organization’s proprietary algorithms.
  • Over 30% of organizations are directly monetizing information assets by bartering with them, trading them or licensing them outright.
  • Companies’ data and analytics capabilities are starting to become of material interest to institutional investors and equity analysts.


In this piece we discuss five key trends over the next five years:

  1. Dolores Ianni and I discuss the challenge of vendors contractually preventing organizations from extracting their own data from the vendor’s applications. Who wouldn’t want to extract operational data into a data warehouse or data lake? We think this is deplorable behavior and predict a hasty end to it. However, as Dolores cautions for those already subject to such draconian contract terms: “If you think it’s your data and that you can freely move it — think again!” We offer particular market implications we foresee and recommendations for dealing with these situations.
  2. Alex Linden, Marc Halpern and I examine the burgeoning marketplace for algorithms, and find that organizations are patenting algorithms today 30 times more than they were 15 years ago. We discuss the implications of this for businesses, and the emerging marketplace this kind of intellectual property.
  3. Yefim Natis and I look at the more mature IP marketplace for data itself, predicting that many organizations will become either sellers or buyers of data via formal online data marketplaces. We identify a dozen distinct implications of this for businesses, government organizations, chief data officers (CDOs) and the current and emerging crop of data brokers.
  4. Valerie Logan observes that there’s incredible room to improve the way we “speak data” throughout the organization. Valerie predicts the initiation of deliberate competencies in information literacy, or what she has coined, “Information as a Second Language” (ISL).
  5. And finally, Andrew White and I, building on our infonomics research, expect that the prevalence of equity analysts today evaluating companies’ data and analytics capabilities (including their information portfolios) will spark organizations to develop internal information valuation and auditing practices. Information is not considered a balance sheet asset, but financial analysts and companies (if not the accountants, yet), are starting to recognize it as one.

I hope you get a chance to read this publication in its entirety, and share your thoughts on it here.

Follow me on Twitter @Doug_Laney  #infonomics #GartnerDA (data & analytics)

Learn about Gartner’s Data & Analytics research and advisory services, including our new team of CDO analysts. 

And be sure to join us at our upcoming Data & Analytics Summits in Sydney (20-21 February), Grapevine TX (6-9 March), London (20-22 March), Tokyo (23-24 May), Mumbai (6-7 June), or Sao Paulo (20-21 June)! 

Additional Resources

100 Data and Analytics Predictions Through 2024

Gartner’s annual predictions disclose the varied importance of data and analytics across an ever-widening range of business and IT initiatives. Data and analytics leaders must consider these strategic planning assumptions for enhancing their vision and plans.

Read Free Gartner Research

Category: algorithm  cdo  data-and-analytics-strategies  data-broker  infonomics  trends-and-predictions  

Tags: algorithms  communication  data-broker  data-lake  data-management  data-monetization  data-warehouse  infonomics  information-management  information-value  monetization  strategy  vendor-management  

Doug Laney
VP and Distinguished Analyst, Data & Analytics Strategy
12 years at Gartner
30 years in IT industry

Doug Laney is a research vice president and distinguished analyst with Gartner. He advises clients on data and analytics strategy, information innovation, and infonomics (measuring, managing and monetizing information as an actual corporate asset). Follow Doug on Twitter @Doug_Laney...Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Data and Analytics Strategy Predictions Through 2021

  1. Noah says:

    Interesting article, thank you! Especially point 3 seems crucial to me: The more data there is, the more people want it to work with it, analyze it and publish it. But whenever you have big data, you also need someone to secure this data.

  2. Agree with many of the trends and sentiments. Infonomics and Information Literacy as a Second Language (ISL) are interesting concepts.

    How these may fit within a larger framework of both (i) organizational metacognition (how an organization understands what it knows and how it learns)and (ii) Intellectual Capital Items and Assessment, could be interesting.

    I’ve performed some research around Enterprise Search and Discovery in one of the world largest multinationals over several years. The surprise shown by staff and management when fed back performance data implies flawed mental models, cognitive biases, technological solutionism and poor sensing of their environment.

    Improvements in information literacy ‘habits of the mind’ could indeed deliver significant business value..

  3. You have brought up a very fantastic points , regards for the post.

  4. Doug, awesome. Point 4 points to what I call the “Data Rebellion” where data vanishes (finally) from IT control and the business takes maturity & full accountability for it, however, the business (not IT) is going to define its own new Information Language. It will recast the last 40 years of Data Engineering into contemporary, relevant, simple Information language (where are the linguists ?). POINT 5 speak to the INTANGIBLE ASSET arms race (IAS38) and the ability to measure data value creation (do more) and value destruction (stop or do less)… IP Attorneys, Lawyers and Accountants are years ahead of IT on this topic.

  5. Emmanuel Janvier says:


    What do Gartner think about tracking employee time/productivity?

    Is there a Gartner report on productivity/time tracking?

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