Data is the New Oil: Competing on Logistics Data

“Data is the new oil,” stated Clive Humby, a British mathematician, in 2006. “It’s valuable, but if unrefined it cannot really be used. It has to be changed into gas, plastic, chemicals, etc. to create a valuable entity that drives profitable activity; so must data be broken down, analyzed for it to have value.”

Humby’s “data is the new oil” is a popular phrase these days, and it has certainly been embraced by logistics technology and service providers, especially those with network-based platforms. Over the past few years, for example, several providers have introduced data-based offerings like market indices and market intelligence services; here are some examples:

The main takeaway here for me is that logistics technology and service providers are no longer just competing on the breadth and depth of their software applications and transportation / warehousing service offerings, but also on the breadth and depth of the market intelligence and data they can provide. 

And as Humby states about oil, raw data is of minimal value; the key differentiator for logistics technology and service providers is converting that data into actionable insights for customers — and then facilitating and/or automating the execution of those actions via their software platforms and service offerings.

In other words, providing standalone data is not enough; it also needs to be incorporated into the user interfaces and workflows of the software platforms used by shippers and logistics service providers, like transportation management, warehouse management, and supply chain planning solutions. In response to the real-time market data and intelligence they receive, these platforms can suggest an action to take and then execute it, either manually or autonomously.

Do you agree that providing market data and intelligence is becoming a competitive differentiator for logistics technology and service providers? When evaluating logistics technology and service providers, how important is their ability to provide market data and intelligence in your selection process?

We will explore these questions with our Indago supply chain research community soon. In the meantime, post a comment and share your perspective!