As CIO of a mid-market manufacturing company, I am always looking for ways to do more with less. For software applications, it means looking for third-party products and services that are more cost-effective than developing software in-house. I’ve often heard it referred to as “not reinventing the wheel.” I want to make sure that anything new we are creating is specific to our business and not easily obtainable through the marketplace. The same is true for data; you don’t have to produce all the data for your analytics in-house. In fact, one of the best ways to enhance your data analytics is to combine it with third-party information.
Let’s look at a few examples:
Weather and climate data: Did you know that some manufacturing operations can be affected by ambient temperature and humidity levels? If a manufacturing line is not located in a controlled environment, it can be important to know current, historical, and predicted environmental factors to adjust the manufacturing processes to compensate. Weather patterns and forecast data can also be used to predict potential shipping delays.
Economic data: Supply chain data analysis can take advantage of shipment pricing datasets to optimize shipping costs. Manufacturing processes can be timed to take advantage of fluctuating electricity prices. Economic and stock market trends data can be incorporated into data analysis to optimize production planning and sales forecasting.
Marketing data: One of the most popular uses of third-party data is to help identify target markets and optimize ad campaigns.
Satellite imagery: Image processing and analysis can help evaluate the conditions of company assets in remote locations to support inspections or damage assessment.
Third-Party Data Marketplaces
It’s clear that third-party data can be useful and valuable, but it’s not always easy to know where to find the data, or how to go about securing the rights to use it. You could start with a web search and find quite a few data sources; some might even be free for certain uses. However, it may be difficult to determine the quality and reliability of the data. It might also be challenging to connect to and consume the data. You could also spend quite a lot of time scouring the Internet to find what you’re looking for.
That’s where third-party data marketplaces come in. They can assist this process by providing a centralized hub for clean, standardized data sources. They also often provide an easy-to-use interface for searching out the type of data you need. Data marketplaces form a fast-growing segment in cloud services that shows great potential as the hunger to consume big data increases.
Here are just a few of the data marketplaces available today:
Snowflake: This company has made a big splash in the market, with triple-digit revenue growth and a very high retention rate for customers. Especially for customers already using their cloud platform, the Snowflake Data Marketplace is a particularly easy way to begin consuming third-party data for analytics.
Oracle: The Oracle Data Marketplace is, according to their marketing, “the world’s largest third-party data marketplace and the standard for open and transparent audience data trading. It provides an ecosystem built on premium quality data, flexible and fair pricing, and scale that is unmatched in the industry.”
Google Cloud: Google offers Datasets in the Google Cloud Platform Marketplace, with subjects ranging from social and economics to healthcare, machine learning, and climate.
AWS: AWS Data Exchange “makes it easy to find, subscribe to, and use third-party data in the cloud… Once subscribed to a data product, you can use the AWS Data Exchange API to load data directly into Amazon S3 and then analyze it with a wide variety of AWS analytics and machine learning services.”
Lotame: Lotame Data Exchange claims to have “the world’s largest, trusted data marketplace” providing “ready access to thousands of high-quality audience segments in the world.”
Dawex: The Dawex Global Data Marketplace provides a hub for “13,000+ organizations from 20 sectors worldwide to source, distribute, exchange or monetize your data.”
Narrative: Narrative Data Streams Marketplace “has reimagined the purchasing of data with a simple, easy-to-use e-commerce buying platform… data transactions are transparent, quick, and cost-effective.”
Microsoft: Surprisingly, Microsoft used to have a data marketplace, but closed it down in 2017, citing lack of customer interest. Maybe they were too early with their offering because the demand sure seems to be heating up now!