The rise of commercial ventures based on open data will drive economic growth and transform how businesses compete for market share, says new research by Deloitte, the business advisory firm.
Open Data: Driving growth, ingenuity and innovation states that allowing the public free access to data can encourage more transparent customer engagement that potentially leads to new revenue sources.
As an example, through open data ‘crowd sourcing’, organisations can draw on the resources of customers or the public to generate new solutions for products, services or business issues. Deloitte’s paper cites an example of Canadian-based mining company, Goldcorp Inc. Its crowd-sourcing competition, with a half million dollars in prize money, to find new gold deposits in its Red Lake property identified 110 targets, more than 80% of which yielded substantial quantities of gold.
Harvey Lewis, analytics research director at Deloitte, says: “Opening up data can generate real returns, but crowd sourcing is just one of many ways to foster business innovation. Open data bolsters legal and regulatory compliance, enhances transparency around anti-corruption measures, builds trust, increases customer engagement and improves reputation and moral standing. For instance, London’s Duedil, the business information provider, says its aim is to increase business transparency by giving the public free access to governance and financial information on UK and Irish companies.”
Deloitte’s report suggests that open data can potentially tip the scales in the war for talent. A recent study by the Centre for Economics and Business Research suggests that 58,000 new jobs will be created in the UK by 2017 as a result of data. Deloitte’s paper indicates that opening up business data may be interpreted as a sign of company innovation, therefore, increasing the chances for attracting the best in field.
While many benefits are clear, Deloitte says businesses that open their data must be prepared for increased customer scrutiny. Substantial education is also required to ensure individuals and businesses understand the challenges surrounding data protection and safeguarding people’s privacy.
Richard Hammell, Deloitte Analytics UK lead partner, adds: “Data is the new capital of the global economy, and the pressure to exploit it is intensifying. However, the growing value of open data must also go hand in hand with increasing levels of responsibility and governance on its availability and distribution.
“Some organisations may feel that ‘opening up’ means publishing everything, but this isn’t the case. Businesses are free to selectively publish data about their company, which can help their customers to find, compare and understand products and services better. For many groups, the trade-off is positive, stimulates growth and drives fairer competition. Taking advantage of this unique opportunity can increase innovation and ingenuity in business, something that is vital for the UK economy.”