Take a product management approach to data monetization


At the heart of processing data as an asset, data monetization must align with traditional research and development (R&D) and product management / marketing approaches. Not to oversimplify the many challenges and activities involved in data monetization, there are some basic concepts that will yield significant rewards if executed well.

Evolve from data Project Data managment Product Management

While you may already have a data manager such as a data manager (CDO) or an analyst, the first step towards data monetization is to appoint a team to identify and research opportunities. and generate demonstrable economic benefits from available data assets. . They might report to a data and analytics manager, the enterprise architecture group, a digital manager, or maybe even a business unit manager.

Creating a separate and dedicated role for the management of data products is vital, especially when business leaders and data managers agree to pursue direct monetization of data by generating revenue or other financial benefits. through the license or the exchange of their data. Typically, companies already have a defined approach to managing and marketing products. Likewise, if you plan to authorize data in any form, you need someone whose job it is to define, develop and produce the data asset market.

Finding qualified talent for this kind of position can be difficult. Traditional product managers can have an advantage over other candidates, even without in-depth knowledge of data and analytics. But why not consider hiring people with experience at a data broker like Experian, Equifax, D&B, IRI, LexisNexis, Nielsen, or JD Power?

Ideally, the Data Product Manager reports to the CDO (itself an emerging role for data-literate organizations) or to a new Data Product Line Business Leader. This chain of command, across the IT organization, emphasizes that data is a business asset, not an IT asset. Additionally, a data product manager provides a counterweight to data scientists, in particular, who may be enticed and obsessed with intriguing issues that may be tangential to business goals.

Speaking of CDOs, Gartner’s most recent data director survey finds that a CDO’s success is 3.5 times more likely when it has met data monetization goals, compared to just 1.7 times more likely when they have demonstrated a return on investment (ROI) from analytical data and investments, and 2.3 times more likely when they have successfully reduced time to market. All the more reason to hire a dedicated data product manager.

Borrow from traditional product management manual

The data product manager can and should borrow extensively from existing product management disciplines to:

  • Design and plan new ways to monetize data,
  • Identify or develop information markets among partners and others, and
  • Coordinate with IT, Marketing, Financial, Legal and other product management groups to execute information production goals.

Pythian CEO Paul Vallée, former CEO and current board member of Pythian, based in Canada, said company executives spoke about their experience taking a product management approach. They determined that a committee approach was not getting things done and that the company needed a single owner to lead the process:

“We needed someone who understood exactly how the business works. We needed someone who had been with the company for a long time and who had been involved in establishing our practices. It was what had to be done to break that inertia and get rid of the committee for day-to-day decisions. While a group of stakeholders should always be consulted throughout the project, ultimately one person should be a leader.

Likewise, Samir Desai, director of digital and technology at Abercrombie & Fitch, said the key is to put the right person in the role: “Not everyone is cut out to be an innovator. I think you need to pick someone who understands the business and the technology, and has the right type or personality to take on that role.

You might already be a data product manager

Many data and analytics professionals believe they have been running data products for years without being officially anointed. “The title may or may not matter, depending on the organization,” suggested Steve Prokopiou, Data Product & Proposition Lead at First Central. “It’s about engaging with the business and delivering what they’re looking for by acting as a translator, asking thoughtful, structured questions about the use and benefits of data. And maybe by adopting the language of product management. Prokopiou also suggests that having the formal nickname could give a mandate to get involved earlier when specifying requirements, rather than waiting for incomplete or hard-to-translate requirements to land on their desk.

“A data product manager needs to be entrepreneurial, but doesn’t necessarily have to have a background in product management,” says Lillian Pierson, who calls herself a data product manager with her own company, Data Mania, a content creator. educative. She believes that treating almost everything you produce as an actual product requires you to take a more disciplined approach. Accordingly, Pierson advises that a data product manager should have a multidisciplinary skill set, including:

  • An understanding of data analytics or science and data strategy
  • Knowledge of how systems and processes work
  • Able to anticipate which technologies work well together
  • Knowing how to design features and functions
  • Experience in conducting market or stakeholder research
  • And of course, a fondness for people.

Refine the vision of the data product by working backwards

Legendary golfer Greg Norman says he plays every hole backwards in his head. “As I step off the tee my mind turns to the green. Before deciding which club to hit or how to play my tee shot, I want to know the exact position of the flagstick – once I know that, I play the hole backwards in my head.

Likewise, as a data product manager, it helps to start with a vision of what you want to produce. This is just the approach taken by companies like Amazon.

Ian McAllister, former director of Amazon Day, says working backwards starts with “[trying] working backwards from the customer, rather than starting with a product idea and trying to hook customers into it. For each new initiative, a product manager writes an internal press release announcing a finished product. “Internal press releases focus on the customer’s problem, how current solutions (internal or external) fail, and how the new product will destroy existing solutions,” McAllister commented. “If the benefits listed don’t seem very appealing or exciting to customers, then maybe they aren’t and shouldn’t be built. And if not, the product manager should keep revising the press release until they find something better.

It might seem like a lot of work for an idea that may never see the light of day. But as McAllister explains, “Iterating over a press release costs a lot less than iterating over the product itself … and faster!”


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