“Data” is an inanimate object. Computers are designed to look for a data pattern consisting of a sequence of Zeros and Ones and interpret it in certain manner. Electronic devices are designed to understand binary sequences as instructions and behave in a particular manner producing human experiences.
Presently visual and audio forms of binary expression are commonly used by people when they read, hear music or view a video. Research is in progress to bring two other sensory perceptions namely touch and smell with appropriate devices.
However, it is clear that “Data” by itself is of no use unless it can be converted into human experience with the help of appropriate devices. Even after such conversion, it is the human who interprets his experience in a particular manner. An easy example is that when the human is not aware of the language, what is rendered by the computer may just be registered as a graphic design or sound but not as readable material or a voice message.
“Data” is therefore the fundamental object which finds expression through different devices. Having devices without “Data” is also of no use since the “Device” is only a tool and needs the data feed. Just as Petrol or the Car by themselves don’t provide mobility, Data alone or the devices alone donot provide value. However, just as “Petrol” has its own value and “Car” has its own value, “Data Per-se” has its own value and “Data reading Devices” have their own value. The Car some times can be made to run alternatively by electricity or diesel or gas and therefore have value independent of the petrol. Similarly, Petrol may have alternative use and have value independent of the Car.
When we look at “Data” as a Commodity we need to therefore distinguish its existence as “Data” from its “Manifestation” as a text, audio or video. A picture which is used with a black and white monitor may not look as attractive as on a colour monitor and the attractiveness may further vary in accordance with the resolution of the screen. In such situation, the end value of the experience of data is different from the “Intrinsic value” of data.
If I am an enterprise having access to a colour monitor, then the data in my hands create a higher value to my customers where as if I am using a black and white monitor, my customers may perceive a lesser value for my enterprise.
Hence the intrinsic value of data is different from the perceived value of the data enterprise as perceived by the customers of an enterprise.
Though in most cases we tend to aggregate the value of the assets of an enterprise and compute the total value of the enterprise, it may be necessary to apply different corrections if we want to arrive at the enterprise value and hence the “Value of Data” and “Value of the Data Enterprise” must be considered as distinct.
Recognizing that the value of data sets owned by Twitter is different from the Value of Twitter as an enterprise is the first step to exploring the data valuation concept.