Open Data is not new, but our understanding of how businesses are using it has changed. Open Data is defined as ‘data or content that anyone is free to use, reuse and redistribute’. Open Data has been largely adopted by Governments as a one stop access point for all public data, to increase transparency, accountability and participation in governance and decision making. Open Data Initiatives for Government aim to grant unprecedented levels of transparency in government operations in both scope and reach, generate the conditions for deep accountability and enhanced citizen engagement and participation, to increase governmental transparency and propel economic development.
Away from this focus on Government, how can other organisations that are not within Government benefit from Open Data?
The concept of Open Data in business however may appear odd; but how can businesses drive a competitive advantage in business:
- If they can access the same data as everyone else, at no cost?
- If they share their data on what differentiates their business model?
Businesses can use Open Data in 2 ways:
- The business can use other sources of Open Data to improve their business model. For example, a business can use Governmental Open Data on demographics to more accurately target their clients.
- The business can make their own data open to the public.
We shall focus on the latter. Why would a business open their data to the public? And ultimately their competitors?
Amazon is one profit making company that has opened its data to the public. It has opened formerly proprietary data in order to drive sales by exposing product information to the largest possible number of potential customers.
Obviously, opening data is relatively easy for not-for-profit organizations. Open data in this case enhances transparency and credibility for these organizations, who are often accountable to donors and well wishers. But what about Profit making organizations? Do they have any incentive to open their data?
Public companies would have the most incentive to open their data for the sake of transparency to their shareholders and other stakeholders, such as the Government. This initiative would also modernize information dissemination; thus effectively paving the way for a collaborative, inclusive, effective, transparent and accountable business operations, critical for business sustainability and profitability.
Proven benefits of Open Data for business:
- Transparency, especially for Public companies, which creates goodwill for the company. This may encourage more members of the public to invest in the company.
- Improved efficiency and effectiveness of service provision, which benefits stakeholders and generates profits for the business.
- Participation and self-empowerment of the public, especially shareholders.
- Collaboration and social innovation from the society, which can contribute to the Research and Development efforts of the firm.
- Generates new knowledge that can be utilized technologically, economically and socially. This new knowledge can be used to develop new products and services that can ultimately generate profits for the company.
With these highlighted advantages of Open Data for business, would you be interested in Open Data platforms for your business?
The following are some of our clients that have trusted us to create their open data platforms:
- Independent Electoral and Boundaries Commission (IEBC) — 2017 Elections
- Federal Republic of Somalia, Open Government Initiative
- Kenya Open Data Initiative
If you’re interested in making your Company/NGO data public, do not hesitate to contact us. We employ the following solution, CKAN, to set up Open Data Platforms for your organization:
For more information regarding our Open Data Platforms, contact us:
Elysee Plaza, Kilimani Road
+254 740 778 736