April 27, 2020
Enterprise Program Leadership

Is Data Really “The New Oil”?

Many industry experts and popular business publications, including The Economist, have recently attested that data, not oil, is now the most valuable resource in the world. Industry experts have coined the phrase “data economy” to describe the influence and prominence of big data in today’s society.

The concept behind “data is the new oil” is that just like oil, raw data isn’t valuable in and of itself, but, rather, the value is created when it is gathered completely and accurately, connected to other relevant data, and done so in a timely manner. When properly refined, usable data quickly becomes a decision-making tool – information – allowing companies to react to market forces and be proactive and intentional in their decision-making.

The economic reality of a world with COVID-19 is such that the value of oil has decreased drastically. Oil, as a resource, is simply not in demand. For data, it’s a very different story. I would venture to argue that in today’s environment, especially with regards to widespread concerns of the health-related and economic implications of COVID-19, that data is in more demand than ever.

Why? It’s simple economics. COVID-19 related data is being generated quickly. In concert with the unprecedented speed at which the virus has spread, many organizations must now make difficult decisions on how to thrive and survive. The result? The demand for accurate and up-to-date data, and further methods of organizing and utilizing said data to make informed decisions, is through the roof. It’s undeniable that there is great value (e.g. monetary, health, safety and otherwise) in getting access to new information faster.

But what we have seen with much of the COVID-19 data is that more data does not always equal better information.  Government organizations and media outlets have frequently reported on the numbers of COVID-19 related deaths, positive tests results, hospitalizations, and tests administered. From this, there have been ratios reported on the death rate, recovery rate, infection rate, hospitalization rate, etc.  However, primarily due to limited testing, not all positive cases are known.  In addition, not all organizations (e.g. countries) are classifying or reporting on the data the same way (or perhaps more sinister, hiding information).  Therefore, while there may be an abundance of data, and that data may be in demand, without ensuring that it is complete, accurate, timely and connected to other relevant data, the information may not be valuable in driving key decisions.  Worse, it may actually lead to the wrong decisions.  We’ve seen this play out in numerous businesses over the years.

So, what can businesses gain to learn from this example? In terms of the question of whether data-backed decision making actually has a measurable positive impact on organizations, a recent survey of C-suite executives from around the globe discovered that, companies that excel at integrating data into their strategy, operations and culture are largely outpacing their peers in revenue growth and profitability.” This suggests that, generally, companies that have invested in and continue to invest in maturing their management of existing data, growth of usable data, and usage of data analytics will continue to thrive even in times of economic uncertainty

So, how can organizations focus their efforts to increase overall data maturity in order to respond to the current economic environment? Kenway has significant experience in helping clients create that type of value by evaluating data maturity levels and subsequently delivering solutions in each of the assessed areas.

The Data Maturity Model:

Some examples of how Kenway has consistently assisted clients in achieving greater data maturity include:

1) Multiple Source Data Capture

Organizations often struggle to connect their many sources of data. By identifying an exhaustive list of locations and qualities of our clients’ existing datasets, we can assist in bringing more powerful and holistic insights from previously disconnected information sources.

2) Reduce Effort to Insight

We can increase the impact of our clients’ analytics capabilities by shortening the time spent sorting through data to find what’s needed to make key decisions in an informed way. We accomplish this by creating dynamic and accessible visualizations of information.

3) Stakeholder Enablement

We have experience developing custom training workshops aimed at efficiently moving end users up the adoption curve with new data-oriented technologies. In this way, we can readily improve your employees’ familiarity with tools and understanding of the underlying information enabling them to enhance their ability to leverage and analyze the data.

4) Intentional data efforts

We often help our clients move away from treating data like a by-product of doing business and, instead, make sure they treat it more like a resource through strategic data capture. We can assess and identify areas where additional or better data can be captured via our Data Management and Data Governance services. We can also help clients realize the value of their data as a resource by identifying creative solutions to leverage this data.

More than ever, Kenway is here to help our clients in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic by enabling them to develop and maintain Data Maturity throughout their organizations. Ultimately, helping our clients translate complex data into meaningful, descriptive information, gives them the ability to reduce cost and drive revenue in normal environments.  In our current environment, it provides them with the ability to survive and thrive.

Interested in learning more? Read about Kenway’s Information Insight Capabilities here on our website, or reach out to us at


How Can We Help?