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Best practices for your valuable proprietary data

(BUSINESS MARKETING) We live in the information age, everything can be broken down into data and used to understand the world around us, but how can businesses use it morally?

proprietary data analysis

Data management has been a hot topic in the technology world since machine automated processes have enabled the collection of leagues of data. Companies have developed strategies for collecting, analyzing, and organizing internal data. But what about proprietary data?

Proprietary data is data that is uniquely acquired by a company to create a competitive market advantage. It could be data that is possessed only by that company, or has been structured in such a way that it becomes a unique business asset. For example, Uber has driver data and Airbnb has home data corroborated by hosts and guests.

Though many companies have some form of proprietary data, many lack a strategy for managing it. Internal data is often given acute attention to manage internal processes, contact relationships, and operations. But proprietary data is what can propel a company from data rich to information rich.

The Harvard Business Review suggests that as data acquisition continues to become easier and faster with AI and machine learning, companies should be proactive about developing a strategy to maintain that data.

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Take investment firms, for example. Some firms have found “nontraditional” data collection and analysis methods to understand new economic trends. They can use unique samples like satellite images of store parking lots or securities pricing data to develop a proprietary data set about consumer behavior and trends. These new technologies and strategic analyses are what can give a firm a new way to understand something as volatile (and profitable) as the stock market.

The authors suggest considering the full life cycle of data collection and analysis to develop a strategy for how to make proprietary data use both secure and advantageous. Companies should consider what data might be useful, how it can be ethically acquired, legal implications for the ownership of that data, and how the use of that data can provide a value-add and potentially be monetized.

Finally, it is critical to consider proprietary data in your company’s overall data architecture. Consider who manages the data, which teams can participate in the analysis and product development from the data, and how it can be wielded to benefit the company or its customers.

In the age of information, successful proprietary data management will be a defining feature of the next generation of exceptional business acumen.

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Heather Buffo is a Cleveland native, a recovering Bostonian, and an Austin newbie. Heather is the Venture Growth & Partnerships Lead at Republic where she works with partners in private investing to democratize access to capital for entrepreneurs. Heather studied neurobiology at Harvard University, and is a City Year Boston AmeriCorps alum. She likes to write for AG, drink Austin beer, and ride around town on her road bicycle. His name is Pippin. Say hello if you see them.

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