quotes Data, the new oil of the digital era

14 March 2021
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Updated 13 March 2021

Data, the new oil of the digital era

We know that oil is one of the most important resources for humanity. However, in this era of the fourth industrial revolution, which involves innovation, technology and artificial intelligence, a new oil has emerged. Data is the new oil of the digital era.
Just like oil, which is worth more when transformed into more constructive objects, when data is processed, analyzed and utilized efficiently and instantly, it will have a much greater value.
Data is usually analyzed for insights to help organizations make informed decisions and adjust their strategy.
The volumes of data created and used in making business decisions support the thriving big data companies and have a great impact on many industries, both government and nongovernment, including education, tourism, banking and e-commerce, healthcare, finance and more.
Organizations need to leverage data for a better understanding of market conditions as it can be used to determine and uncover a customer’s purchase patterns, budget, as well as growth predictions and profit.
This is why it is believed that a data scientist is the most in-demand position nowadays and the most attractive job of the 21st century, according to Google.
When Jeff Bezos started Amazon, his intention was to gather data on shoppers through selling books close to cost to increase sales.
Collecting millions of customers’ data helped the company to learn how to sell everything else online. A customer-acquisition strategy was achieved through data collection.
Predictive intelligence, for instance, helps the economy and businesses by tracking people’s locations, interpreting the data collected and analyzing patterns on how consumers move around cities to build facilities such as malls, supermarkets and recreation centers.
However unlike oil, which is a scarce commodity, data is a fast-growing industry and is infinite. It can be reused and will never lose its value. It is hard to calculate the exact amount of data used. Nonetheless, it is estimated that 2.5 quintillion bytes of data are produced every day and that, by the year 2025, 463 exabytes of data will be generated daily.

Just like oil at its beginnings, data needs to be regulated, legislated and have its flow controlled.

Dr. May Alobaidy

The swift development of digitalization adds up to the persistently growing universal data domain. The statistics are astounding. According to Mark Zuckerberg, WhatsApp is now delivering over 100 billion messages every day with more than an estimated 2 billion users globally. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day. There are 306.4 billion emails sent and 500 million tweets daily.
With an increase in data usage, we have to be ahead of the curve in terms of cybersecurity, fraud and ensuring privacy and security in the Cloud and onsite. Many of us sign up and open accounts at Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Apple, Microsoft, giving up private information and accepting the terms of use without even reading them.
We never think of how much our personal data is worth. Every single step is being tracked through our devices. For example, daily search, timeline and location tracking will be used to generate revenue. Such valuable information is being sold to marketing and advertising companies and used without our knowledge or consent.
Just like oil at its beginnings, data needs to be regulated, legislated and have its flow controlled. In addition to setting data ownership rules and data infrastructure policies, it is crucial that customers know which data is being used and how.
By and large, data, the basis of all advanced analytics, artificial intelligence, machine and deep learning, helps to measure and assess things, to be able to improve, develop and solve problems. With regard to data’s economic value, organizations and companies should be digital and data-driven as data is the dominant resource of the digital economy. Having a management information system will help leaders take crucial decisions at ease.
In the face of the competitiveness of growing business and industries, taking strategic decisions is a necessity in order to prosper. That is why it is recommended to have data centers in each organization.
There are millions of data centers created by governments and businesses worldwide, yet the need is rising. Other options include using existing data centers managed by a third party such as Microsoft, Google and others. Nevertheless, it is prudent that you have your own data center to safeguard security and privacy.

• Dr. May Alobaidy is an expert strategist with a professional history in strategic planning, policies, research and development, education, and healthcare management. She served on many advisory boards and is a member of many committees, including the G20.