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Posted by Jennifer Belissent, Ph.D. on February 21, 2013
. . . Nor has it ever really been. Government data has long been a part of strategic business analysis. Census data provides insights into local standards of living and household budgets, health needs, education levels, and other factors that influence buying patterns for all kinds of goods and services. The US Bureau of Labor Statistics and the International Labour Organization provide data on employment and the availability of skilled labor that helps inform decisions on where to locate manufacturing or other facilities. The World Bank and UN data provides insights into global trends.
Moreover, the release of government data has itself spurred billion-dollar industries. Think weather data released in the 1970s by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration – which gave birth to the weather industry and services like Accuweather, weather.com, wunderground, and newer services like ikitesurf.com’s “wind and where.” Data from the US Global Positioning System (GPS) was opened to civilian and commercial use in the 1980s and has given rise to thousands of location-based services. Think FourSquare, Yelp, and Where’s The Bus?
At the city and local government level, open data complements these existing data sources with data on government assets, operations, and performance. And, at the federal level, the mandate to further open public data through the Health Data Initiative and other federal data initiatives in Energy, Education, and other industries expands available data sources.
What can you do with this data? Innovate. And, if you don’t, your competitors will. New competitors will rise up and disrupt the status quo in all industries. There are already some great examples of companies using government data to complement their internal data for strategy decisions, for product innovation, and for new services themselves.
Healthy example of data innovation
The health industry has feverishly adopted the use of data to enhance existing services and provide new ones.
And, data innovation is not limited to startups:
Banking on data innovation
The banking industry has equally invested in the data revolution as cited in a recent Wall Street Journal blog:
Embracing The Open Data Model
Companies are not just using data themselves, they are inviting others in to see and use their data.
Mint Data was a little ahead of its time. But Intuit has now launched a new data program for developers that provides access to:
o Over 65 million accounts and 11 million users supported today.
o Financial data from over 19,000 financial services organizations across the US and Canada.
o Aggregate consumer and business financial account data, plus auto-categorized transactions.
o Secure API for cost-effective, self-serve data access.
o SDKs for .NET and Java to accelerate development of your app.
I’ll stop there with my examples. As you can likely tell, I’m excited about the data opportunity. I’ve been a data geek for a long time: Ask me about running policy simulations all night long on housing data in Russia. And now the data revolution and the new “data economy” are really democratizing the use of data and the benefits that it provides.
New research at Forrester on the data economy will provide tools for evaluating data readiness and for developing a comprehensive data strategy.
We'd love to hear your examples of how you are innovating with data – either yours or someone else's.
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