Data Marketplace

Data marketplaces are emerging across many different industry verticals.  The IDC Data-as-a-Service ecosystem map shows all the different flavors of data that are being made available for use across a wide variety of business applications and categories.  Each industry is developing its own set of data marketplaces because the type of data, the use cases, and the distribution methods will vary industry-to-industry, and at this stage there is not a catch-all approach to building data marketplaces.  However, there is a common set of capabilities that a data marketplace needs to have underlying its platform.

1. Data sourcing is the most basic capability
All data marketplaces need to have data supply, which means sourcing data from unique data providers who can enrich the datasets available within the marketplace.  For example, if you run a supply chain data marketplace, you need to identify sources of valuable supply chain data.  This can be shipping firms, GPS tracking technologies, warehouses, eCommerce platforms, manufacturing IoT sensors, etc.  But a data marketplace needs to be able to actively source data sets that can flow into the data marketplace on a regular basis, giving the data marketplace inventory.

2. Data quality and compliance curation
In addition to sourcing data supply and inventory, a marketplace needs to be capable of curating data based on quality and compliance.  Depending on the data set and the source, the verification needs will vary.  But a marketplace is an ecosystem, and to build trust within its ecosystem, it has to have high quality data that buyers can trust.  For example, a data marketplace in the marketing ecosystem needs to ensure that the data that passes through it meets privacy compliance standards, is fairly accurate in terms of the marketing attributes made available, and is maintained in a reputable and industry standard manner.  

3. Demand generation to drive the network effect
Marketplaces ride on the network effect of having both supply and demand flow through them.  A marketplace needs to be very good at generating interested buyers of data.  This can come from marketplace features (such as having the best ability to search through and discover data sets), or from simply having a team of feet on the street who can call into prospective clients and drive sales.  As more buying activity happens in a marketplace, more supply will naturally be attracted to the marketplace.  More supply will lead to more interest from buyers, and the flywheel will kick off.

While there are many more features that data marketplaces compete on, ultimately the most important thing is to get network effect kicking into high gear of both supply and demand flowing through. Some intermediary value-add (data quality and compliance) and features to help data get discovered and delivered to end buyers will drive differentiation among marketplaces in the same industry vertical.