Gartner BI & IM summit - day 2

February 26, 2013


The highlight of the day, for me, was Doug Laney’s presentation on the valuation of information (or infonomics).

Doug started his presentation by explaining the genesis of infonomics: in the aftermath of 9/11, and the associated significant loss of information assets, insurers offered to pay for the replacement of the servers, but not the information on them. In October 2001, the insurance and accounting industries in the US successfully lobbied for changes to the accounting standards to explicitly exclude the capitalisation / valuation of information as a balance-sheet asset.

While 80% of executives surveyed by Gartner thought of information as an on balance sheet asset, the only information asset that accounting standards allow on balance sheet is customer lists.

Doug also outlined a number of both economic and non-economic methodologies for valuing information assets. Tellingly, the majority require some form of data-experimentation, also known as a data scientist.


Doug introduced the term fantastic term blunder-funding : organisations spending large sums after a data-breach to prevent future losses, indirectly confirming value of the information.

Risk is not a direct part of the value calculation

Following a question from the audience, Doug argues that risk does not enter the value calculation, but does enter the cost-benefit analysis for securing the information (asset).

A data scientist by any other name

The session before Doug’s closing keynote was a panel on addressing the data skills competencies. The panel was Gavin Keeley (FirstServis), Paul Gladigau (J.P. Morgan) and Richard Fischer (Greythorn).

Paul opened the session with the epic tale of the 11 month recruiting exercise his firm had completed to find a data scientist. 2 months after hiring, the employee left because everyone expected him to solve their problems, absolving them of the responsibility.

This is the best (or worst, depending on your perspective) example I have heard of the [data scientist fallacy] (/blog/2013/02/26/the-data-scientist-fallacy/) which I have experienced, albeit to a lesser degree.

Thanks Gartner

Despite joking with Timo Elliott about wanting to be at StrataConf over Gartner, I really enjoyed the two days. It is so important for practitioners to understand the language and thinking of executives that in many ways, I got just as much value from these two days as I would have got from Strata, albeit of a different kind.

My thoughts from yesterday’s sessions