I’ve just finished to read the excellent book “The Software Paradox”: worth every single minute spent on it.
One concept really interesting was the shift from software as and end to software as a means. And beside software there are data: they are the equivalent of sawdust for lumber companies.
The lumber industry sells what used to be waste—sawdust, chips, and shredded wood—for a pretty profit. Today you’ll find these by-products in synthetic fireplace logs, concrete, ice strengtheners, mulch, particle board, fuel, livestock and pet bedding, winter road traction, weed killing, and more. – Jason Fried
Think for a moment: Google, Fitbit, Bloomberg, Lexis-Nexis, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora, Nest …and the list goes on, they all make huge money with data.
The interesting aspect of such a model is that you are not too much exposed to new players in your market because ammassing large volumes of data (and hereafter extract valuable information from it) takes time.