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Groundbreaking research on the personal information economy

Posted on: Wednesday 14th of May 2014

New research by Ctrl-Shift (to be published on 9 June 2014) will look at the business and economic impact of Personal Information Management Services (PIMS) – personalised services that help individuals collect and their own data for their own purposes including making better decisions and managing life tasks and processes such as ‘move home’ or ‘manage my money’.

It is the first research of its kind to quantify the economic impact of this emerging market in the UK information economy, highlighting the variety of business impacts and what they mean for organisations in different sectors and across different functions.

In addition to this research on the broader PIMS market, Ctrl-Shift will publish a paper on the same date (for the Open Identity Exchange) establishing the size of the UK market for online identity assurance (the creation, verification and use of online identities) based on an assessment of value vs. costs/risks, the market’s potential and drivers. Identity assurance is a springboard for innovation and an essential service for a successful online economy. It is a door opener and a sub set of a much bigger, broader market for services based on the exchange of online verified attributes (any piece of data that is confirmed or verified by another trusted party). Such services have a wide array of business models and are currently a hot spot of innovation.

How this research helps organisations

Every organisation knows that the personal data landscape is changing fast with the rise of many new services that help individuals use information in new ways. But this is the first research to quantify the impacts and to evaluate the detailed effects that these new services are affecting organisations’ costs, processes and potential revenue steams.


For the last 50 years the personal data paradigm has been that organisations collect data about customers and use this data to create insight, target customers etc. leaving the customer in the passive position of data ‘subject’ and target.

But now there’s a trend in the information economy towards empowering individuals with their own data driven by a powerful combination of changing consumer expectations, business opportunities, regulatory responses as well as technology. This is:

  • opening up possibilities for a whole range, indeed a whole new market, of new consumer services (PIMS) focused on helping people make sense of and manage their busy lives; and
  • transforming the data relationships between companies and customers, including the possibilities of customers ‘going dark’ on the brands they don’t like and sharing ever more data with the brands they like/trust. A new competitive battlefront, in other words.

This is a rapidly growing opportunity – and challenge – for most brands, sectors and the UK economy.