It’s not hard to see the signs that the data economy is heating up. Virtually all decision makers want to be insights-driven. They mine their own data, yet increasingly they want incremental insights that drive further differentiation and competitive advantage. External data hunting is on the rise: 56% of decision makers say their firms are expanding their ability to source external data; another 21% plan to do so in the next 12 months. That’s great news for the growing suppliers of data, including companies that are now commercializing their data — a cohort that’s grown from 14% of our survey respondents back in 2014 to 51% in 2019. Data commercialization has crossed the chasm.

With both the buy side and the sell side booming, no one wants to be left behind. Forrester can help. We’ve been doing research and advising clients on data economy opportunities for years now. Our first report, “Navigating The New Data Market Landscape,” published in 2014 (yep!), provided guidance on how to source data. Specifically, it offered recommendations for when to go to different types of players across the data market landscape (see graphic). While players may have changed in the subsequent years — with many new entrants in the market — the guidance remains sound.

The follow-on report (with a ridiculous title), “Find A Date To The Data Dance,” also published in 2014. It advised companies on how to take their data to market. It starts with “You’ve got data!” and recommended partners to help build a data commercialization strategy and eventually a data or insights product/service.

Since then, we’ve continued to help companies on both the buy side and the sell side of the data economy, covering data acquisition, data commercialization, insights services providers, and more. A few years ago, I pulled together a table of contents on insights services providers. Now, I thought I’d do the same for some of the newer data sourcing and commercialization research.

Research On Data Commercialization (Sell-Side)

The following reports and blogs provide best practices and recommendations gleaned from interviews with data commercializers across industries and geographies:



Research On Data Acquisition (Buy-Side)

The following reports and blogs provide best practices and recommendations gleaned from interviews with data buyers across industries and geographies:



Note that this is not an exhaustive list of data economy research. I don’t typically cover the market for consumer data. On that front, I’d recommend “Vendor Landscape: The Consumer Data Ecosystem’s Service Providers,” which starts with the assertion that “the consumer data ecosystem is astonishingly complex.”

Finally, It’s Not All Rainbows And Butterflies . . .

At Forrester, we also recognize that the data economy is not all rainbows and butterflies. My colleague Jeff Pollard has published several reports exposing the dark underbelly of the data world. I’d be remiss to not point out: “The Future Of Cybersecurity And Privacy: Defeat The Data Economy’s Demons.”

And, last but certainly not least, all data players must remain up to speed on privacy and compliance. For that, I point readers to research by both Fatemeh Khatibloo and Enza Iannopollo.