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The market for Personal Information Management Services – new research

Posted on: Monday 16th of June 2014

At Ctrl-Shift we’ve been talking about Personal Information Management Services (PIMS) for some time now, but there’s question we’ve never been able to answer – until now: Just how big is this market?

What are PIMS?

PIMS are services that help individuals gather, store and use information, including their own personal information, to pursue their own goals, for example making better decisions and managing ongoing life tasks.

PIMS differ from traditional data-enabled services in many ways. For example, they give individuals control over their own data, they help customers manager their relationships with suppliers rather than the other way round, they help customers volunteer new information about themselves, their needs, plans and preferences rather than playing the role of ‘target audiences’.

Instead of dispersing individuals’ data across many different organisations in some instances they help individuals assemble and integrate their own data around themselves – thereby creating new-to-the-world data sets that create a genuine rounded view of the individual.

Sizing the market

Funded by Aimia (which runs the Nectar loyalty scheme), Hendersons (the wealth management group), Nesta, the Open Identity Exchange and Vodafone, we’ve modelled the emerging market for PIMS and analysed the impacts a mature PIMS market would have on organisations.

We find that a mature UK market for personal data and life management services would be worth £11.5 bn. In addition, the mature market for decision support services could be worth £5 bn. Put together, they would account of around 1.2% of the UK economy. That compares with the automotive industry (0.7%) and pharmaceuticals (0.97%).

For organisation in both the public and private sectors, we found that the main impact of PIMS is to open up new opportunities to reduce the costs of reaching out to and dealing with customers, while also creating an opportunity for innovation around new information services that add new value and differentiate brands.

Getting the timing right

Reflecting on this research, probably our biggest take out is not just the potential size of this market but timing. The PIMS market is evolving rapidly. We’re now seeing one new service launch a week with increasing levels of investment.

But when new markets are small and nascent it’s easy to ignore them.

Trouble is, it takes years for large organisations to adapt to big changes. It may take a year just to get their heads around the new market and to build an internal consensus about what to do. It may take another year to develop a strategy and an implementation plan. And it may take another year to make all the necessary operational, business model, staff and other changes.

Which means that if you want to be in a good place two to three years from now, it’s a good idea to start now.

‘Personal Information Management Services: An analysis of an emerging market’ is now available to download for free.

You can read Nesta’s blog post about the research here.