Apart from big data, businesses are making optimum use of open data – data that is inexpensive, easily accessible, and a profitable resource goldmine.
There was a time when organizations would dedicate abundant amounts of their energy and resources towards the acquisition and management of data to serve their business goals. But ever since the evolution of the Internet, corporations have been saved from this timely ordeal, as access to nearly all types of data has become seamless. Businesses are now starting to feel the benefits of open data in synchronization with their private data and are collaborating on a whole new level to acquire state of the art business models, improved revenue streams, innovative products and services, and a competitive advantage over their business rivals.
What is open data?
Open data refers to those data sources that are easily accessible to individuals and organizations alike. Free from the legal restrictions of copyrights, patents, and trademarks, open data is a resource pool of free and reusable data and information. The aim of open data is to bring justice to the concept of knowledge being free and that everyone should have unrestricted access to certain data that they can use, share, and forward without being charged for. Backed by several governments worldwide, open data is used by public and private sectors and has been a transformative enabler for the education, healthcare, logistics, energy, finance, and real estate industries, among others.
What are the available open data types?
Generally, open data is made available for universal use by governments and governmental institutions. For instance, many governments today are developing the framework for smart cities. It is given that smart cities need open data governance. How else would the vision for a high-quality life and a self-functional city be fulfilled? Open data is also provided by non-governmental and non-profit organizations.
Open data encompasses various facts, theories, findings, and ideologies, and is of the following types:
Scientific data – data that is generated by scientific research, studies, projects, and findings.
Geospatial data – data and information that represents the size, shape, and location of physical objects situated anywhere on the planet.
Transport data – data on public and private transportation systems, routes, and movements of goods and services.
Financial data – data such as government accounts, national expenditure, gross revenue, financial information of personal and business entities, and information on the stock and share market.
Environmental data – data on ecosystems, emissions, habitats, pressures, pollutants, and industrial activities.
Why is open data used for business intelligence?
Today, irrespective of their size, companies are utilizing open data resources for a variety of purposes. The main reason why businesses are turning to open data is that sometimes leveraging big data can be a time-consuming and frustrating task. Apart from being free from restrictions, open data can be reused, redistributed, and can provide immediate information and insights. This is especially beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises that need to kick start their ventures quickly, but lack an initial funding of time and resources. For instance, you’re a logistical company that needs to know the best routes for travel and delivery. In that case, you need detailed information on local, regional, or national data on roads and routes. Similarly, if you need to know the tastes and preferences of a target audience, you can find open data sources on demography and population levels. This paves the way for accurate target marketing and enhances customer satisfaction. Usually, open data is merged with in-house and private datasets. This hybrid approach reduces data acquisition and management costs and cuts down on overall company expenditure. Companies also have regular access to changing governmental services and policies, and its impact on society. This way their business intelligence processes are revamped and fine-tuned to serve the evolving needs of the people. Open data is comparatively cheaper than private data sources and is a secure platform for data analytics. It is also transparent, flexible, and scalable, as it is constantly updated and modified.
Open data lays down an array of advantages for businesses. However, in our opinion what works best, is when organizations deploy a combination of several data sources. An integrated approach to open data and private data can lead the way towards untapped information and insights, and provide a multitude of opportunities for corporations to delve into.