Thursday, January 16, 2014

Open Data and the Organization

What might open data do to the organization?

The trend of using accessible data from outside the organization continues.  McKinsey recently quantified the economic opportunities of using what is termed 'open data'.  They're big, but you'd expect that from a management consulting firm.   Tim O'Reilly describes open data this way:
There’s a pragmatic open and there’s an ideological open. And the pragmatic open is that [data is] available. It’s available in a timely way, in a nonpreferential way, so that some people don’t get better access than others.
Some implications:
  1. The lack of control, and the potential for change, means those providing business requirements need to more like mentors and docents than hardliners and dictators.  Much more emphasis on thinking about 'why we will be successful' (strategy) rather than 'how we will accomplish it' (tactics.)
  2. The value proposition may shift as organizations find they may have data that they want to contribute to the community.  These may be byproducts of processes that spin off data, e.g. geo-location and timing of distribution activity, that others may find beneficial or acting as a broker for a consortium of data used in benchmarking performance.
  3. The skill set of marketing department will include a collection of hackers responsible for finding novel ways of identifying and satisfying market needs by combining internal core competencies and any/all external supporting data.
In short, open data will force organizations to clearly understand what its purpose is...others, will be using the same data to do similar things.

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