Marketplaces and Web Stores: Mobilizing the World’s Data Together
As this is the first blog of its kind at TickSmith, I feel it’s important to explain the purpose of this category/series. Blogs organized in the “Product Corner” category will be posts where our product leadership will share their thoughts on current events or introduce the market to new frameworks or concepts that we are ideating on. These publications will generally be informal and experimental, and aim to present unrefined ideas for the purpose of refining them.
This last month, the world’s largest data technology companies hosted their annual conferences where they announced new functionalities and strategic focuses for their platforms. At their Summit, Snowflake doubled down on their already successful strategy: monetizing data through their data marketplace. From their partner to their training sessions, Snowflake emphasized the importance of data sharing and data monetization. Not to be outdone, Databricks revealed their own data marketplace offering was in development and demonstrated that their marketplace will support data products that extend outside databases and tables.
As attendees and sponsors of these events, whose entire business is enabling organizations to effectively monetize and mobilize their data, I was constantly asked about how we compete with these marketplaces and if I was worried about them scooping up our market share and opportunity. I love these questions because they give us the opportunity to talk about our true vision and goal: mobilizing the world’s data.
For many people I spoke to, the term “mobilizing data” was brand new. It’s an idea I have been workshopping for a while now, and I feel the timing is right to coin it for the world.
Recently, the data industry has been introducing new operating models and theories such as data mesh, data democratization, data sharing, and data monetization. Data mesh is a procedural and architectural framework to allow disparate groups in an organization to share and leverage each others’ data to solve problems. Data democratization aims to have firms build tools to get data into the right people’s hands at the right time. Data sharing protocols introduce new ways to reduce data duplication and allow people to access data at its source. Data monetization is the process of generating commercial value through the effective use of data.
In each of these concepts, the underlying motivation is the efficient distribution and access of data, effective analysis of data, and the proliferation of insights into strategies, products, and operational activities. At TickSmith, we call this activity “mobilizing data” (or “data mobilization” as a noun).
I’ve often seen organizations focused on one, two, or none of the models and concepts mentioned above. Data mobilization is an umbrella term that encapsulates many of these emerging models. To be successful when mobilizing a company’s data, the firm must consider implementing many of them together, but with a heavy emphasis on the end user of the data. It is necessary that data product providers refocus their approach to best enable the consumer, rather than the practitioner, for the data to be most effectively used.
Firms who focus their efforts on successfully mobilizing their data, whether for internal, external, or partner usage, will, in my opinion, be the ones to fix the world’s problems. It is our “raison d’être” (reason for being).
Data Marketplaces and Data Web Stores
Coming back to the announcements of the month, many of the major cloud providers and industry leaders are launching marketplaces to enable organizations to mobilize their data. I define a “data marketplace” as a hosted platform, managed by a single operator, on which many data providers list (and sometimes fulfill) data products. Marketplaces generally have a standard way that data products can be displayed and a detailed process to publish them, in order to ensure consistency of experience. These marketplaces are a phenomenal way for a data provider or vendor to gain exposure and interact for the first time with members of those communities.
On the other hand, a “data web store” is a platform where the operator is also the primary data provider of the platform. Data web stores, being managed and controlled by the company providing the data products, allow the provider to describe the products in the way that will best speak to customers and prospects of their data products. Control of the experience is maintained by the provider and they can flexibly test different listing and pricing approaches. This specialized control of the customer experience results in the data web store being the best way to cultivate the relationship between the customer and the provider.
Data marketplaces and data web stores serve as two different, but synergistic, methods of mobilizing an organization’s data products. The data marketplace opens up a new channel to market for data products and accelerates the time to initial interaction with a potential prospect. In contrast, the data web store serves as an instrument to evolve that interaction into a continuous and growing relationship with the prospect.
I foresee a world where every data product provider lists on every relevant data marketplace, irrespective of whether they’re operated by a technology vendor or an industry leader—this will amplify a provider’s routes to new clients or partners. Simultaneously, these providers will be operating their own data web store to enhance and cultivate the relationship with clients. Both have a necessary and differentiated purpose for every data provider in their data mobilization journey.
Our real vision is not just that data marketplaces and data web stores co-exist, but rather that they interact. I believe that data web stores should serve as the central place that an organization manages their data mobilization efforts. Taking inspiration from the physical world, the data web store should become an omni-channel listing and fulfillment center for all Data Marketplaces relevant to the data provider.
To answer the questions posed by our prospects, I do not feel that we compete with data marketplaces and I am not scared by them. On the contrary, I am excited by the opportunity they present and the dedication to enabling data mobilization that the largest data management platforms are demonstrating. I believe that successful data mobilization is the key to achieving the promises that have been made around big data for the past 15 years, and I am excited to be a critical part of making that reality come to fruition.