Data is now one of the most valuable commodities in the world, with a market predicted to be worth US$92 billion globally by 2026.
It's not surprising. Everything we do each day leaves a digital trace, capable of being collected, analysed, manipulated and sold. Most of us give up this valuable resource for free, or in exchange for a helpful app.
In just ten years, data has become perhaps the most disruptive and pervasive aspect of the world's business landscape, and a major driver for, and feature of, M&A.
Shifting the goalposts for new and old alike
Of the world's ten most valuable public companies in September 2017, seven were tech companies. Back in 2007, as the iPhone launched, Microsoft was the only tech company in the top ten.
And for most of these companies, this stellar growth has been achieved largely by the smart collection, interpretation and use of data.
Data and underlying technological developments are also disrupting almost all sectors and new and old companies alike.
For many companies, data-driven M&A is now part of their strategies. In any event, data as a feature of M&A is on the ascendance, with resulting issues for doing deals in the data-age.
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