Data is the new oil

Data is the new oil

In the most eye popping of headlines, Softbank has announced that it is forming a technology investing megafund in conjunction with the Public Investment Fund of Saudi Arabia. The $100bn Softbank Vision Fund will be the largest private equity fund of its kind.

In a paradigm where oil prices remain depressed and the world’s most prolific oil producer is investing in technology to salvage its returns, we must all acknowledge that “data is the new oil.”

By 2020, humankind will produce 44 zettabytes of data, with over 10% of that data coming from machines. A zettabyte is one sextillion bytes—yes that would in fact be 21 zeros!!!  This is a tenfold increase from 2014 alone and enough data to fill up Lake Ontario.

In the financial services industry, more data in and of itself is not necessarily a good thing. While large volumes of data are still needed for some organizations, the emphasis on smart, meaningful analysis of that data will always take precedent. Smart data always trumps big data, as quality always trumps quantity.

At the end of the day, some of the data collected may not even be worth the cost of storage. In a world where data is truly the new oil, fintech startups that can help find the “signal through the noise” will make the largest splash.

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