What IS a data product?

Caitlin: “I had the honor of attending the CDOIQ event in Cambridge late last month. And one hot topic of discussion was data products and how do you define a data product? So I’m back in New York City and I’ve been going through some of the archives of Harbr and I recently found this intro to a webinar that our co founder Anthony Cosrove gave back in early 2020 and he compares data products to consumer goods. And this comparison is largely how we’re talking about data products today. Obviously, there are a multitude of definitions floating around about data products, but I like this correlation and I think you should have a listen and tell me what you think.”

Anthony: “Products have two really nice features. The first is that they’ve been built to be really easy to manage. They’re, very, well defined and measured. They have a clear visual identity. They are branded, they’re labeled and they’re offered up to deliver a particular value proposition to a particular set of personas across one or more use cases. The other feature on the flip side is that for consumers, they’re really easy to find, assess. And then if it’s a good product, they’re also easy to use products, tend to be available where we expect them to be, where we want them to be or where we need them to be. They’re well differentiated from each other. The branding and the labeling gives us a sense of quality and what to expect when we use that. And because they do talk to a value proposition that we will experience when we use them, we’re able to better discern whether or not the products are right for us. So products really galvanized interactions between suppliers and consumers and they do so really effectively. But when it comes to data, we rarely hear about data products, which is odd. Why is a concept that’s so ubiquitous and so useful being ignored? What would be the benefits of treating data as a product? How do we make them and then how do we manage them?”