With its publication less than a month away, many people who have heard about, got a sneak peak of, or pre-ordered my book, Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information for Competitive Advantage, have inquired about what compelled me to write a book about infonomics. Moreover, what kind of crazy person decides to write a book in his “spare time” while in a job demanding much more than bankers’ hours?
The short answer is that it’s been germinating inside me for many years, and kind of bursting to get out. (Yes, much like in the Alien films.) Back in 1999, I casually and kind of tongue-in-cheek coined the “infonomics” term in a META Group research piece, before META was acquired by Gartner, and even before the first incredible Freakonomics book. It took a couple years for me to realize that information isn’t formally valued, recognized or reported as an economic asset. From that moment onward, I was on a mission! And for the past couple decades I have been researching, working with clients, developing ideas, and writing articles on this topic among others.
After compiling 3000 articles, papers and ideas in an Evernote folder on the topic of valuing, accounting for, and administering various kinds of assets, and having amassed over 300 examples of organizations monetizing information, it seemed high time to write a book. Thankfully Gartner has provided me with the ideal platform, surrounding me with dozens of brilliant colleagues and hundreds of enthusiastic clients over the years with whom to further explore and develop the infonomics concept. But being either too busy or too lazy (more likely both) to write three separate books on monetizing, managing, and measuring information as an asset, it’s packed it all into a single book. Feel free however to digest it as three separate books, focusing on one part or another, depending upon your role and interests.
What do I hope to achieve from writing the book? In short, it would be great to affect some kind of awakening that provokes further economic expansion at the hands of a growing cadre of infosavvy leaders and their companies. The book isn’t about me nor about achieving fame and fortune. (Most Gartner analysts already have all the tech industry notoriety we can handle. And the book is a Gartner book, so no monetization for me no matter how well it sells.) Rather, day in and day out we Gartner analysts speak with clients who are struggling to manage their data better and do more with it. Their organizations put incredible discipline and resources into the handling and leveraging of other business assets, but not so much with their information. So if there’s one question (maybe two) that I would like the book to evoke from business, technology and information leaders, it’s this:
Why hasn’t our organization been treating information as an asset all along, and how the heck can we hope to thrive, let alone survive, in an increasingly digital world without doing so???
It would be great to see many of you in any of these roles take some of the ideas from the book on just how to do so, implement them, and build on them.
Perhaps the book brings about a revolution of sorts, leading to the recognition of information as an accounting asset, and subject to the same legal treatment as other forms of property. Or maybe the book will compel some bright young economist to expand upon and develop infonomics into a new branch of economics, earning herself a Nobel Prize. But accounting regulations and the field of economics are not really my main concern. More than anything, I’m anxious to see how organizations that internally embrace and execute on these ideas and practices become tomorrow’s economic powerhouses.
So I hope you and your organization’s other business leaders, technology, data and analytics leaders, and architects (at least) get the book. And that you each find it interesting, informative, and instructive. Or at least one of the above.
My book, Infonomics: How to Monetize, Manage, and Measure Information for Competitive Advantage, is now available on Amazon (publication: September 2017).
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