Introducing the Data Channel

How the explosion of third-party data creates new opportunities for business partners

Tue Dec 12 10:47:00 EST 2017
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The term “data is the new bacon” has become a mainstream business phrase over the past couple years. It’s an expression that cleverly highlights just how popular external data has become among businesses—everyone craves it, and once they have it, they want more. The shift toward data-driven business insights isn’t slowing down, and will only continue to speed up. It’s time now for the Channel to awaken and to help their clients capitalize on external data to achieve their business goals.

When we think of data, we often think of first-party, or client-created data, which 83% of businesses optimized for their use today, according to a new research study by Forrester, commissioned by Pitney Bowes.

But third-party data, or data that is purchased from an outside source, is quickly gaining in popularity, and 46% of the 800 senior-level professionals surveyed in the study say they’re now purchasing it. External data is on the rise as a corporate priority, and businesses are looking to partner with service providers (72%), cloud vendors (69%) and software vendors (67%) to get it.

First-party data is an incredibly valuable resource for businesses to understand their customer, but it only gives organizations a picture of their customer in relation to how they do business with them. Third-party data is unique in that it goes beyond the organization’s walls—it provides insight into the world around the customer and aspects that could affect their purchasing or operating decisions.

In fact, 85% of the participants surveyed say they believe third-party data is valuable, and over the next 12 months, these participants will look to use this type of data to achieve top business priorities, such as improving customer experiences (46%) and identifying new revenue streams (45%).

As we move into 2018, the Channel has a clear opportunity to help clients achieve these business priorities just as they have in the use of analytic software previously, and to partner with organizations that can also deliver specific types of third-party data that their clients are seeking. Our survey found that participants’ interests in types data varies across regions, with U.S. participants heavily focusing on customer behavior data (60%) and geographic data (60%), versus their U.K. counterparts looking to access digital data (58%) and social media data (59%).

The opportunity for the Channel will go beyond just supplying this data, but also helping clients effectively use it to create real business value. Business leaders are hungry for data, but in today’s data climate, many are challenged to find it, qualify it, and integrate it.

When asked what the biggest challenges were to using the data, participants cited improving the quality and accuracy of data (70%), maintaining the quality of data as it changes (69%), and improving the ability to detect and track changes in data (69%) as their top challenges.

Beyond just the lack of confidence in third-party data, 96% of participants find it difficult to acquire. The high costs of licensing reliable data sets from third parties (55%), the timeliness and reliability of open data sets (54%), and finding the right data products in the open market (50%) are the most common pain points for organizations looking to acquire this data.

Third-party data providers and their partners have an enormous opportunity to influence the current data climate and close the gap for clients. Real-time data that is accurate and precise should no longer be a wish list item for customers, but should be standard practice.

New delivery platforms like online marketplaces should also be a consideration, as a whopping 99% of organizations say they’re open to purchasing data there in the future—and spending more than $10,000 USD there (38%).

It’s time for the Channel to take the lead on helping clients with these needs and desires. Partners have long provided expertise and solutions for analytics--now is the moment for partners to help clients find data, assess its accuracy, keep it current and deliver the value of broader context.

The explosion of data will give rise to the Data Channel. Data providers must be prepared for this evolution and have the right Channel strategy, and the right data partners in place to capitalize and ensure they’re providing clients the tools to succeed.

Interested in beginning your data partner journey? Visit us online to explore our dataset offerings and to learn how you can become a part of the Pitney Bowes Data Channel to successfully achieve your clients’ goals.