The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data

It seems crazy to suggest that an intangible concept like ‘data’ could be more valuable than a long-established and indispensable commodity like oil. But it’s almost certainly true.

Oil is, to a certain extent, becoming somewhat less of an essential, resulting from the pressure to abandon fossil fuels and the general move to electrification of vehicles and processes. Renewable energy is on the rise and the trend is to create a more circular economy.

The rise of digital

But it’s less about oil losing value and more about the exponential growth in data and what it means to business.

Just look the most valuable companies in the world. In 2006 these were the oil and energy companies. In 2016 the list included Apple, Amazon, Microsoft and Facebook.  Success today is wrapped up in technology and data, and those companies that don’t start embracing data today in everything they do will fall behind and, ultimately, fail.

What data means to business

Data today will drive the shape of your business tomorrow. In recent years, data often meant customer information – that perhaps enabled you to reach out to your customers via email and online advertising, understanding their preferences. It also helped speed up online sales processes and in-house systems.

But now, data is the lifeblood of any organisation and the secret to unlocking a successful future. By blending the data that your organisation holds with other external sources and running it through sophisticated analytical tools, you will understand far more about your industry than ever before.

Do you know how weather conditions or political change affect your business? By understanding what influences your performance, you can predict and prepare for it.

It also gives you new opportunities to automate and streamline key processes. In a supply chain, for example, embedding RFID (radio frequency ID) tags into every shipment means they can be automatically scanned by sensors as a train or truck drives through a distribution point. Not only will you know where every item is on its journey, it’s faster and more efficient than having someone manually check each container. Those people are freed up from a repetitive and unrewarding task to focus on more engaging tasks.

How to harness the data seam


Data insight and data science are becoming the hottest business investments today. At WIL Group we are seeing a rapid rise in demand for interim professionals with digital experience, tasked with designing a data strategy for organisations of all sizes and sectors.

By setting out your approach today, you can plan the investments and people development for tomorrow, readying your organisation for the next phase of the data revolution.

What that looks like will depend on your business and its priorities. But one thing is certain. Today, data, not oil, is power.

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