From Oil to Data: Exploring the Economics of Monetization

Discover insights into data monetization's economic impact, trends, ethics, and regulatory landscape in 2024.

Arun Munuswamy, Assistant Vice President and Delivery Director at Genpact, brought a fresh perspective to the Data Engineering Summit 2024 held in Bengaluru. With over two decades of experience in digital transformation and leadership roles across renowned firms, Arun Munuswamy is known for his insightful approach to handling complex transformation programs. His session at the summit focused not on technical intricacies but on the crucial topic of data monetization and its ethical implications in today’s evolving digital landscape.

Understanding Data Monetization

Arun Munuswamy commenced his talk by setting clear expectations: he would delve into the economic concept of monetization and its application in the realm of data, steering away from technical jargon to emphasize broader implications. He illustrated the concept using a powerful analogy from history, referencing a negotiation tactic employed by Mel Gibson’s character in a popular film, where raw data was likened to the uniform of soldiers, effectively monetized through clever manipulation.

Economic Foundations of Monetization

Drawing parallels from economics, Arun highlighted the fundamental drivers of monetization—supply and demand. Just as economic equilibrium fluctuates with market dynamics, data monetization hinges on the balance between data supply and demand for insights. This equilibrium, as illustrated through economic graphs, underscores how data’s value can vary based on these factors, much like traditional commodities such as crude oil.

Data as the New Oil

Arun expanded on the analogy of data being the new oil, a concept popularized by Clive Humby, underscoring its transformative potential akin to crude oil in the industrial era. He traced the evolution of data from its raw form through processing to valuable insights, facilitated by advancements such as the internet, big data, and cloud computing. This evolution has positioned data as a cornerstone of the modern economy, surpassing traditional commodities in economic significance.

Types of Data Monetization

He categorized data monetization into internal and external avenues, illustrating how organizations can leverage internal data to enhance operational efficiencies and customer experiences. Externally, organizations can monetize data by offering insights to third parties or creating new revenue streams through innovative data-driven services, thereby tapping into the expansive potential of data marketplaces.

Highlighting emerging trends, Arun discussed the convergence of IoT and edge computing as pivotal in expanding data monetization opportunities. Applications ranging from automated cars to AI-driven healthcare underscored the diverse sectors leveraging data monetization for enhanced operational efficiency and customer satisfaction.

Regulatory and Ethical Considerations

Addressing ethical challenges, Arun emphasized the critical need for responsible data handling. He highlighted issues of bias in data sets used for AI and machine learning, stressing the importance of unbiased data for equitable outcomes. Regulatory frameworks such as GDPR and HIPAA were discussed as essential guardrails to protect consumer privacy and ensure ethical data practices across global jurisdictions.

Future Outlook and Case Studies

Concluding on a forward-looking note, Arun projected a robust growth trajectory for data monetization, fueled by advancements in analytics and AI. He shared case studies from Genpact’s engagements, showcasing tangible benefits realized through data-driven insights in sectors like banking and healthcare. These success stories underscored the transformative potential of data monetization when implemented with strategic foresight and ethical considerations.


In his engaging session at the Data Engineering Summit 2024, Arun Munuswamy illuminated the transformative power of data monetization, navigating economic principles, ethical challenges, and emerging trends with clarity and depth. His insights underscored not just the technical aspects but the ethical imperatives in harnessing data’s potential responsibly. As organizations navigate the data-driven future, Arun’s session served as a guiding beacon on the path to ethical and impactful data utilization.

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