Great thing about the Cloud is you can take any traditional asset, and turn it into a service. Service’afying stuff has become quite the little business enterprise, and one of the most interesting is data.
Take this weeks announcement by Dun & Bradstreet that they’ll be offering their vast database of commercial information via the Cloud. D&B360, their DaaS service, will not only serve up their highly valuable business insight, it will also provide a platform for consumers to integrate said data into their own systems.
This is a crucial distinction between merely storing data in the cloud, and Data as a Service. Without the interface or integration layer, merely providing your data online is not as useful. What excites me about D&B’s offering (not that it takes much to excite me) is that they’ve taken a very lucrative and valuable business asset, transformed it into a Cloud service, and will now be able to reach more users in more locations, in a completely integrated way.
DaaS as an area of Cloud has been fairly active for the past two years though, with services operating at multiple levels, both at the pure data provision level, and the higher business vertical level. Amazon’s Public Data Sets (information such as US Census Databases, etc), Microsoft’s “Dallas” project (Mars Rover images!), and Google’s Public Data Explorer (Australian Population Estimates) are all great examples of diverse DaaS offerings.
And the scenarios are pretty powerful as well. When you think about providing real-time decision making capability to a range of clients, whether they be Intranet applications, mobile solutions or pure web, being able to integrate rich (and sometimes very large) datasets in a shaped way over the Internet is critical to success. What’s more, paying for only the data nuggets you use makes consuming these data sets very easy and affordable. And finally, being able to rely on the accuracy and freshness of the data is also a huge value-add, having the data centrally managed and updated takes the load off the user.
So have a quick look at your organizations data, maybe you have a great DaaS offering just lying around.