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Is Open Data Just Nice To Have When Times Are Tough?

by Andrea Di Maio  |  April 4, 2013  |  2 Comments

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.

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Category: open-government-data  

Tags: open-data  

Andrea Di Maio
Managing VP
19 years at Gartner
33 years IT industry

Andrea Di Maio is a managing vice president for public sector in Gartner Research, covering government and education. His personal research focus is on digital government strategies, open government, the business value of IT, smart cities, and the impact of technology on the future of government Read Full Bio

Thoughts on Is Open Data Just Nice To Have When Times Are Tough?

  1. Hi Andrea

    Nice to have at any price but increasingly desirable if the price is low. Open source platforms like CKAN coupled with low cost public cloud platforms and an understanding of the “as is” nature of open data releases mean the cost of provision is both relatively and actually quite low.

    I wouldn’t commission a new outsourced CMS just for open data but I think a small investment may be justifiable as a source of reliable data available for use by interested parties.



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