Author Interview – Doug Laney

By Daragh O Brien
October 14, 2021
9min read
Doug Laney, author of Infonomics

We start the last month of our #12Years12Authors series of data author interviews with a concise chat with Doug Laney. Doug has been a pioneer and idea herder in the Data Management community for many years. He was among the first to really apply rigorous analysis to the assertion that “data is an asset” in his book Infonomics.

The Interview

Doug Laney, author of Infonomics

Featured Author: Doug Laney

In this interview, Doug summarises the background to his work on Infonomics, which started with the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks when organisations woke up to the impact on their businesses of the loss of data from impacted IT systems. Doug worked with clients to help them value their lost data assets, but the insurance industry moved the goal posts to avoid having to pay out on the loss of data from the attacks.

As I listened back to that vignette when editing the interview, I couldn’t help but draw a parallel between the loss of data due to a physical attack and the loss of data through ransomware or even through pure crappy process or data flow design. It is for this reason that Infonomics is an important milestone in the development of strategic data management thinking because it sets out some fundamental approaches for modelling the economic value of data to organisations and to society. It takes things beyond the basic “scrap and rework” cost modelling of traditional data quality and provides some tools to really get under the skin of why data matters (hint: it’s all about outcomes and value).

Ever the diplomat, Doug didn’t pick a favourite book for this interview but instead provided three recommendations from books he has read recently. Each of these has something of interest and value in it to the data management professional, and Doug’s diplomacy here highlights that (yet again) data management people need to be obsessively well-read in a wide array of topics. We don’t always have to agree with what we’ve read, but we do need to let it shape our thinking!

Watch the video (it’s a short one) and then check out Infonomics and the other books that Doug references!


Doug’s Influences

Doug reads a lot. He decided not to play favourites for this interview, but provided some recommended reading that is at the end of the video and listed below.

Competition Time

If you would like to be entered into a draw to win some of the books referenced by Doug in this video and in the rest of the videos we’re running this month, please provide your email address and an answer to the simple question in the form below. The terms and conditions for the competition can be found here:

Books Referenced in this Video


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