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2015: Open Data and Government Transparency Matures


January 7, 2015

Doug Hadden, VP Products

2015 will be a transitional year in government and open data. Open data will act as “transparency-washing” for some governments. Freedom of Information/Access to Information will remain under threat. But, more and more businesses and NGOs will begin using open data effectively. This will generate economic activity.

Governments will begin to realize the transparency is positively associated with trust. That the technical burden of integrating information silos with different metadata for external use will have internal returns – much of that data is unavailable to other ministries, departments or agency. (Often, across divisions within a government entity.) And, the use of this data will enable “smart government” to improve transportation, energy use and other wicked problems.

  1. The major driver for government transparency remains “looking good.” Governments will tout achievements in open government portals and the Open Government Partnership regardless of governance value. The good news is that transparency is gaining momentum.
  2. Opaque governments will remain under threat thanks to social media and mobile. Some governments will try methods of restricting “freedom of information”. Efforts to clamp down on this free expression is delaying the inevitable. Some governments will try methods of restricting “freedom of information” and will be justified by the lead of the US Congress and other developed countries.
  3. Technology limitations to open data remain. Governments will realize that financial and budget transparency is the killer “open data” application and that the technical burden to provide this data will generate internal benefits. Yes, it will be all about showing citizens the money. And, encouraging participation in the budget process.
  4. Unfortunately, most commercial companies will fail to take advantage of the open data opportunity through 2015. Open data will become more useful but not necessarily used.
  5. Effective use of open data and big data will rise in sub-national governments.The notion of “smart grids” and “smart government” will gain traction in large cities to solve transportation and energy challenges.
  6. Some governments will realize that open data has a network effect: new data sets add value to previous data sets creating increasing value over time. They will also apply big data techniques by combining data from multiple internal sources. It will become more recognized that there is significant internal value to governments through integrating once-siloed data. This includes evidence-based policy.
  7. Governments will realize that big data can be used to reduce fraud. However, adoption will be slow.
  8. Government IT spending trends include smaller projects (especially for back-office systems) with the result of improved ROI, and the replacement of legacy applications and improved citizen digital experiences.
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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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