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Image by Franki Chamaki


“Data is the new oil” is one of those deceptively simple mantras for the modern world. The wildcatting nature of oil exploration, plus the extractive exploitation of a trapped asset, seems like an apt metaphor for the boom in monetized data.

Swimming rather than drowning

As the sheer quantity of data produced, stored and managed continues to increase exponentially, the issue will be as much about how to have the scale and capacities to flourish rather than simply drowning in all the data. For anyone other than a well staffed, focused start-up or a GAFA giant there will be multiple challenges around how to create an organization that generates genuine business value from this resource.


By 2025 Data will grow 61% to 175 zettabytes

(Source: IDC)


85% of companies think AI will offer a competitive advantage,

but only 1 in 20 is “extensively” employing it today

(source: MIT’s Sloan Management Review)


Big brother

IoT, 5G and AI are promising more efficiency and productivity as we can measure, track and test everything that goes on in the world of work. The global market for enterprise wearables—including smart watches, smart glasses, hearables, and exoskeletons—is expected to grow 41 % annually to exceed US$60bn in 2022. The covid crisis has reinforced that trend: 16% of employers are using technologies more frequently than before to monitor their employees. While some companies track productivity, others monitor employee engagement and well-being to better understand the employee experience.


As methods used to collect data about employees are growing, so is concern about personal privacy: 64% of workers are concerned about how organizations handle employee data.




In a survey on data use carried out in France in 2019, 2/3 of French people are concerned about the use of their personal data ;

97% believe that companies should give them a right to control the use of their data ;

53% would like to have a mean of recourse to report any misuse (source: Harris Interactive)

Pirates ahoy!

As work becomes more liquid, an organization’s data is increasingly shared externally via more or less secure networks and machines bosting the risks and costs associated with IT security. By 2021, the annual cost of cybercrime is predicted to reach $6tn. In the UK alone, The British insurance company Lloyd’s estimates that cyber attacks cost businesses as much as $400bn a year, which includes direct damage plus post-attack disruption to business as usual. In 2017, the famous ‘Wannacry’ attack claimed more than 200,000 victims, inclu - ding FedEx, the NHS and Renault. Its cost was estimated at several billion dollars. Data is the new ‘oil’ but it is too easily lost, leaked and stolen.

“It’s a revolution. We’re really just getting under way. But the march of quantification, made possible by enormous new sources of data, will sweep through academia, business and government. There is no area that is going to be untouched.”


Image by Clay Banks


Picking the right strategy


Just as the internet brought down some leaders, those who do not invest in AI early to ensure they will keep their firm’s competitive edge will flounder (The Economist, report on AI, 2018). This means that leaders need to rethink multiple facets of their organization from talent acquisition, to new product development and data protection to unleash the potential of AI.

How to make AI ‘stakeholder friendly’?


The growing demand for transparency in the use of personal data raises new challenges for companies. For example, how can they benefit from using data while ensuring confidentiality for employees and partners? It also implies putting in place clear rules and processes to ensure that managers use data ethically when using it reduce HR costs for example. All this will be made more difficult by the fact that the legislation is relatively complex and continues to change.


Some startups are already addressing these pain points. For example, CryptoNumerics (Canada, $3.3M raised) offers a data intelligence solution ensuring data confidentiality. Ethyca (US, 20M$ raised), which automates user data privacy management recorded a 150% month-over-month increase in demand.

Turning the cybercrime threat into an opportunity


Protection against cyber attacks is also a topic for companies of all sizes. Fortune 500 and Global 2000 corporations, midsized organizations, and small businesses are all hacker and cybercriminal group targets. The boom in the data protection market is a preview of the importance of the subject in the coming years: it expected to grow from $57.22bn in 2017 to $119.95bn by 2022 worlwide.

Image by Tobias Fischer
Ancre 1


1. Since our ‘ultimate’ competitor is Amazon, one of the world’s leading data experts, what is the strategic plan for creating business value with data at Lyreco?


2. How to capture more data to enhance both our operations and our offer? Do we need to build partnerships to help us get this complex issue right?


3. How will we ensure that we anticipate / comply with the complex legal and technical constraints around data-driven services? Is the organization in place able to support this without simply blocking any new services?


4. Could we join / co-create an ecosystem of partners to label new data services as ethically compliant?


5. What will the role of IoT and intelligent office objects in providing more data for Lyreco? How might we access this data?


6. How to address the issue of privacy both internally and with Lyreco’s customers?


7. What is Lyreco’s position on security and fighting cybercrime? How to support companies in protecting their sensitive data?

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