I had a fascinating inquiry this morning with a government securities commission (not the SEC and not in the US).  The client had a classic question about how to navigate the new data economy.  The commission produces and consumes large volumes of data but continue to struggle to answer persistent business questions like how well they are doing or even who they are doing it for.  Yes, securities commissions regulate securities markets; they monitor publically traded companies, investment houses, and brokerage firms. Howevver they continue to ask, “for whom?”  Who are the investors that they are protecting with their regulation?  As they expressed the question, “How do we know what Mrs. Smith is investing in?” They currently work with several large data providers who provide financial information on companies but that information wasn’t exactly what they were looking for. Essentially, in this Age of the Customer, they want to know who their “customers” are.  This was a question about how to best serve their customers, in this case the investors. 

They wanted to know how to source additional third-party data that would give them a clearer picture of the investors that they are serving.  Census data provides a wealth of information about households and individual finances. But the data teams at the commission are not experts in navigating census data.  Data providers like Thompson-Reuters provide data on the financial services industry. Others such as Experian or Acxiom provide information on consumers.  What kinds of other data providers can help them with their data strategy to answer that basic question of how to better serve their customers, and who they are? 

One place to start looking is our report, Navigating The New Data Market Landscape: New Data Sources And Players Offer Richer, Easier-To-Use Data For Better Business Decisions.  The report provides an overview of the types of data providers out there, and the services they provide ranging from basic data provision to the more value-added analytics and applications offerings. The figure below indicates when to go to different types of data providers:

The commission is clearly a potential player on the supply side of the data economy as well.  We didn’t get into how they might productize some of their own data, and provide it as a service (free or for-a-fee) but that would be another avenue as they explore how to fully participate in the data economy.  And, that is the topic of an upcoming Forrester report, Taking Your Data To Market.