Book Review: Monetizing Your Data, a guide to finding a method for turning data into revenue

Andrew Wells, CEO of Aspirent Consulting, and Kathy Williams Chiang look to provide the reader a framework for converting company data into revenue generating strategies

There is a bit of irony that that day I chose to write about the new book Monetizing Your Data by Andrew Roman Wells and Kathy Williams Chiang, that another book should be back in the news. That book, which I won’t mention by name here, was a big influence on many business executives in the ’90s, but one that led to downsizing and much heartache because, in the end, while it was purported to be about reorganizing a company so one might get better performance, it ended up being used by executives looking for a rationale for their desire to cut costs.

Few in publishing today advocate for building their businesses through revenue generation from places other than reader revenue. So out of fashion is the ad model that those of us who advocate for a more balanced approach are sometimes looked at with suspicion.

One area, though, where there seems to be a meeting of the minds, is for the need to monetize one’s existing assets — specifically, data. Here, everyone agrees that data is an important asset and that successful companies will find ways to uncover, handle and monetize that asset.

The authors of Monetizing Your Data take on their subject like an actor or a trainer, there is a method to be be employed, and they do much to sell and support that method.

“There is an abundance of evidence to support our approach,” the authors say. “In a study performed by Andrew McAfee and Erik Brynjolfsson, they found that ‘companies in the top third of their industry in the use of data-driven decision making were, on average, 5% more productive and 6% more pro table than their competitors.'”

Much of the first part of the book is used to sell the reader on the need for their method and its validity. But one assumes any reader of Monetizing Your Data will already be sold on the concept and is looking to move on to successfully implementing any method that can lead to greater utilization of their assets.

By Section Three the authors get into the nitty gritty of “making data pay.”

The authors have written a dense work that executives will find absolutely useful, if a bit “scientific”. But the book is broken out into bite-sized chucks, even if the sections are lengthy. Chapters allow for one night reading, and inside those chapters are subchapters that allow the reader to return to places they think are particularly important. For instance, the section on analytics is broken out into six chapters, and those chapters are broken out into many smaller units, with each chapter concluding with a summary. The TOC makes sure you can return to the parts you want, if even if you’ve lost your bookmark.

Some may hope that the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, might return to the subject for one of their “…for Dummies” books, but it turns out that the Dummies franchise already is filled with titles on the subject (proving once again just how lucrative Wiley’s brand is).

If you are serious about finding a method to assist you in turning your data into a revenue stream, this would be an excellent place to start. Monetizing Your Data will likely find a place on your bookshelf behind your desk so you can return to it again and again.

The book has a support website where one can find additional articles on the subject, as well as tools and templates for use in implementing one’s data monetization strategies.

About the Authors:

Andrew Roman Wells is co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Aspirent Consulting, an Atlanta-based management consulting firm. It is clear that writing this book, which is featured on its website home page, is one way to prove the company’s capabilities. Wells was previously with such firms as Ernst & Young, Capital One, Daugherty Business Solutions and Epiphany.

Kathy Williams Chiang is currently VP, Business Insights at Wunderman, a data-driven digital agency, but has also worked as a consultant at Aspirant.

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