Information is power, says the old adage. And so it seems to be firmly believed by many companies for whom the information collected and generated represents an important asset. In many cases , especially among many new startups trying to success in the digital realm, information is not just an asset but the main one (or even the only one). Information can therefore be a key competitive advantage in many cases. But in many others, the real competitive advantage could be found in sharing that information.
There are different reasons why many companies would still consider culturally close to an anathema to share information with others, even when it is obvious that this information could be much more valuable shared than kept inside the organization walls. A main reason is perhaps an old analog mindset still to be forgotten in the new digital paradigm. You know , if I share an apple I’m left with half an apple but if I share information I still have the same information and I can expect something in return (maybe some other information I did not have).
The obvious case, for instance, are small shops sharing their products database in order to sell online their inventory through a common e-commerce platform, as thousand of booksellers have been doing for some years in Abebooks.
Services as Guest Checker o Guest Scan are another good example. In this case, hotels, B&Bs, holiday lets, holiday parks, booking agents and tour operators share information in order to safeguard themselves from “nightmare” guests by checking whether a guest could be a potential troublemaker before accepting a booking.
These services allow business owners to review individual customers. Accommodation providers can use them to post concerns and/or compliments on individual guests, as well as view posts left by other providers. This way, a ‘Guest Black Listing’ is formed with guests who fail to pay their bill or damage the hotel, thereby warning all other accommodation providers in advance.
This kind of lists are not new. Most accommodation providers had their own similar list in order to avoid future problems with these guests. The only problem, these lists were of a very limited value when not shared.
Can you think in any kind of information or database in your company or industry which value could be increased exponentially once shared?