Earlier today I was being briefed by a major vendor about their public sector offering. This vendor provides – among other things – content management solutions. In passing, I asked whether they plan to add support for open data creation, management, mash-up, but they answered that they are seeing less demand for this than just a year ago, mostly due to budget constraints. they said that as CIOs need to focus on how to deliver services more efficiently, openness and transparency are more a “nice to have” than something indispensible to run the business.
At the same time, more datapaloozas and similar events are taking place around the world, with Chief Technology Officers, Chief Data Officers or Chief Digital Offices mostly supportive and convinced of the key role of open data.
The reality is that the community of interest around open data is not changing. Certainly growing and as vocal as ever, but for the most part still self-referential and either unable or unwilling to create a clearer connection between open data and the resource challenges that many government CIOs are facing.
The good news is that there is still time for this to happen. The bad news is that roles like the Chief Data or the Chief Digital Officer – or at least the way they seem to be interpreted in government – are biased toward outward-facing outcomes (such as citizen engagement, contribution to an open data ecosystem, and so forth), and potentially missing the opportunity of internalizing the value of open government.