The Rise of Data Capital

Data is now a form of capital, on the same level as financial capital in terms of generating new digital products and services. This development has implications for every company’s competitive strategy, as well as for the computing architecture that supports it.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, data is not an abundant resource. Instead, it is composed of a huge variety of scarce, often unique, pieces of captured information. Just as retailers can’t enter new markets without the necessary financing, they can’t create new pricing algorithms without the data to feed them. In nearly all industries, companies are in a race to create unique stocks of data capital—and ways of using it— before their rivals outmaneuver them. Firms that have yet to see data as a raw material are at risk.

The Rise of Data Capital