When searching in Google for “Data economy,” the first hit I got was a Wikipedia article on: “Economic data!” This sounds almost like an unintended pun.
Data has always been part of the economic system. Some of the oldest artifacts of recorded writing were lists of goods found in Uruk almost 5.500 years ago. But what we are currently observing is that the digital age is fundamentally changing entire industries, e.g. media industry (music or newspapers) or retail (see Amazon!). Moreover, personally identifiable information (sic!) is already contributing to profitable business. So internet technology – in combination with a growing information need in business processes (e.g. hype on Big Data) – is disrupting a lot of processes we are used to work with for a long time. In addition, a completely new quality to how we see and use data in the future is currently emerging.