Finding Value in Open Data Vs Big Data

 We recently discussed the possibility that Big Data might be more appropriately named Fast Data. How does Big Data Compare with Open Data? Which holds the promise of delivering more value to CIOs and their organizations?

See Big Data Vs Fast Data 

Big Data describes the process of the collecting, storing, and analyzing of fragments of information that can be rapidly assembled to identify subtle macro trends or create actionable profiles that precisely target unique individuals.

Open data on the other hand describes a corporate policy which permits certain data to be freely available to everyone to use and republish as they wish, without restrictions from copyright, patents or other forms of control.

Each day, organizations and individuals create nearly 2.5 quintillion bytes of data. This data generation rate produces so much data that nearly 90% of the data in the world today has been created in the last two years alone. This data for example comes from devices such as sensors used to gather climate information, posts to social media sites, digital pictures and videos, purchase-transaction records, and cell phone GPS signals.

Include information about who individuals are, what they read, when they are in a particular place, where they shop, why they buy and how they feel about public policy and you have a wealth of valuable (Big) data. 

Why Not Open Up Big Data?

Many businesses continue to seek IT and business solutions for effectively dealing with the growing volume of information written to their data stores and  databases.

Gartner analysts for example believe that while the vast data stores of information can make businesses smarter, open data will be far more consequential for increasing revenue and business value.

"Big data is a topic of growing interest for many business and IT leaders, and there is little doubt that it creates business value by enabling organizations to uncover previously unseen patterns and develop sharper insights about their businesses and environments," David Newman, research VP Gartner, said in prepared remarks. "However, for clients seeking competitive advantage through direct interactions with customers, partners and suppliers, open data is the solution. For example, more government agencies are now opening their data to the public Web to improve transparency, and more commercial organizations are using open data to get closer to customers, share costs with partners and generate revenue by monetizing information assets."

The company's report noted that enterprise architects could play an important role in fostering information-sharing practices. Access to, and use of, open data will be particularly critical for a business that operates in part or in whole on the Web, and organizations should focus on using open data to enhance business practices that generate growth and innovation, Gartner s report said. "With tight budgets and continued economic uncertainty, organizations will need leaders who can craft breakthrough strategies that drive growth and innovation," Newman added. "As change agents, enterprise architects can help their organizations become richer through strategies such as open data."


Open Data Needs APIs

Despite the clear importance of open data to an organization, the report also noted there is very little agreement about exactly what "open" means, even though openness is a pervasive and persistent issue in IT. Gartner suggested open data application programming interfaces (APIs) are a lightweight approach to data exchange. These APIs can be new sources of revenue, spur innovation, increase transparency and improve brand equity, the report noted.

"The challenge for organizations is to determine how best to use APIs and how an open-data strategy should align with business priorities," Newman concluded. "This is where enterprise architects can help. 

While some internal IT functions may be using APIs to fulfill local or specific application needs, the enterprise architecture process harvests and elevates good works as first-class strategic priorities that create business-focused outcomes. As a strategic enabler, APIs are a powerful means with which to build an ecosystem, and a first step toward monetizing data assets."


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Bill has been a member of the technology and publishing industries for more than 25 years and brings extensive expertise to the roles of CEO, CIO, and Executive Editor. Most recently, Bill was COO and Co-Founder of and the parent company PSN Inc. Previously, Bill held the position of CTO of both Wiseads New Media and


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