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Why businesses need to become Data Sharing Masters

Steve Jones
20 May 2022

The iconic picture of a successful business typically places a bold leader at the helm who charts a solitary course leading to the vanquishing of rivals and dominance over a market. As much as executives would like to imagine themselves the heroes of this narrative, this individualistic strategy is rapidly becoming a thing of the past.

The accelerating evolution of data is upending this fable. The future is about sharing and cooperation with partners, customers, and – yes – even some rivals. The business heroes of tomorrow are the ones that transform their companies into “data-sharing masters” that leads to greater agility, insight, and innovation.  

“We’ve spent a lot of time optimizing what is within out four walls based on the context of what is within those four walls,” said Steve Jones, Chief Data Architect at Capgemini. “What we’re able to do now is collaborate externally with organizations to get additional data, which gives me that external view of the reality of my business.” 

What do we mean by “data-sharing masters”?

Simply put, these are companies that are able to tap into the power of external data to bolster their strategic decision making through richer insights. This requires looking towards a broader data horizon that lies past the classic third-party data aggregators to include multiple sources of data that may flow from hyperscalers, customers, and competitors – creating a data ecosystem. 

To companies who are not sufficiently data mature, such a scenario may seem terrifying and fraught with risks. Protecting company secrets to gain competitive advantage is a natural reflex baked into the corporate DNA. But the research regarding the benefits of data sharing and data ecosystems is unmistakable. 

The Capgemini Research Institute recently released “Data-sharing masters: How smart organizations use data ecosystems to gain an unbeatable competitive edge”, a comprehensive report examining this challenge. The study makes clear that data masters will win the future: 

  • Data sharing ecosystems have the potential to add up to 9% to a company’s annual revenue by 2026. 
  • Data-sharing masters improve customer satisfaction, productivity, and cost reduction at double-digit rates.  
  • Organizations that leverage external data deliver double the market capitalization and an overall superior financial performance. 

More urgently, however is the warning that the time for corporates to change course is now. The same report reveals that the data ecosystem message is resonating and companies that don’t heed it are in danger of being left in the dust:  

  • 84% of organizations told Capgemini they intend to launch new data ecosystem plans within the next three years.  
  • One in four will spend up to $50 million on data ecosystems (including the technology, tools, and talent) initiatives during that same period. 

Valérie Perhirin, Managing Director, Insight driven Enterprise, Capgemini Invent, said, “This is complex because you are building deep data alliances and we all know that alliances are complicated, but you have to jump in, build trust and build new businesses together. It’s difficult. But if your other competitors scoop up all the allies before you, you won’t have any partners. So, we need to be in a hurry.” 

If you haven’t started down this road yet, don’t panic! While momentum is gathering around data sharing, many of the efforts are still primitive. Rather than worrying a company is too far behind, recognize that there is still the opportunity to catch up and eventually become a leader in a movement that is just finding its legs. 

The road ahead 

Capgemini has been evangelizing the data-sharing gospel because the benefits are remarkably clear. But the path toward achieving the status of data-sharing master is not. The decisions that must be made and the right choices can feel counter-intuitive to the business culture that many executives have experienced until now. 

It’s essential that organizations develop a roadmap they can follow to achieve well-defined goals. That starts with asking tough but important questions: Why is your company interested in a data ecosystem? What is your current level of data maturity? What is the state of your data culture and leadership?  

From the start, a company must focus on trust, privacy, security, governance and regulatory issues. It must also define transparent and measurable goals. Is this about branding, customer loyalty, or new revenue generation? This will eventually lead to the hard decisions about what data to share and with whom. 

In this series of articles, we want to delve a bit deeper into 3 categories of challenges that lie ahead for companies as they seek to revolutionize their data thinking:  

  1. Getting started: A focus on the fundamentals that must be identified to build a solid foundation for moving forward. This includes best practices and preparing to eventually scale.  
  2. Understanding the benefits: Selling such a radical shift internally and building support required a clear articulation of what the business can gain and how that aligns with strategy and new potential opportunities. A look at several data-sharing masters sheds some light on these benefits. 
  3. Learning from fintech: The financial industry has become a trailblazer in data ecosystems thanks to some of the richest datasets. But first, it had to overcome but some of the thorniest competitive and regulatory issues around that data.  

“The banks and insurers don’t have a choice but to start to collaborate,” according to Ashvin Parmar, Vice President, Insights & Data Practice Leader at Capgemini. “So, the desire is there to grow and reach new prospects and clients and to service them better. By procuring data from a variety of sources, they can enrich their own data and improve in areas like risk management. They also get a better view of the client and their preferences.” 

After more than a decade of hype, Big Data is ready to deliver on its promise to drive business transformation. Leaders have to be ready to seize the opportunity by shedding old habits and learning new ways of thinking. It’s a pivotal moment and an exciting one for those ready to make the leap.  

Let’s go!