Are you thinking the right way about open data and its position in your enterprise information management? Let’s be honest – many business intelligence professionals are not. Why not? There are basically two reasons:

  • Many BI professionals do not even understand the true potential of open data.
  • Their enterprise information whatever-they-call-it is not ready for this kind of data

Open data, being a relatively new phenomenon, has a few key features. Open data, where done right, is:

  • Complete
  • Accessible with minimal investment
  • Structured
  • It adheres to open standards
  • It has hardly any usage limitations

Governments and other public organizations are primary sources of open data. The idea behind this is simple: to grant everybody access to public data for public money. Open data has very few requirements. Two of the most important are the requirements to attribute the data to the original source, and/or to share at the same level with, and make the same permissions available to, everyone (for example, it cannot be limited to commercial use only).
Integrating open data into your enterprise information flow requires high levels of proficiency in:

  • Metadata management (they are usually huge and really complicated datasets)
  • Data governance (the credibility of different parts of any dataset can be completely different – you will likely find yourself using much more datasets than before – by orders of magnitude)
  • Data processing (do you really need this specific kind of data for anything?)

Enterprise information flow integrates all those disciplines (as debated in previous articles) and many more. The key is not to only have an understanding of your system, but also to be absolutely sure that you know all about everything that is happening in your system. When your business analyst, salesman or decision maker gets a still-wet report on his or her desk and asks: “Where did this information come from?” You will certainly answer: “Our data.” But from which source? Was it your company’s internal data, open data you downloaded from a government website, data from one of your clients? You need to be absolutely sure, not only because you want a clean and smoothly-running system, but also because the people depending on your system sometimes need to know where your data is coming from to make better decisions.
What is your opinion on the enterprise use of open data? How do you integrate it into your enterprise information management? Comment on this Reddit thread, on Twitter or send us an email. And remember to check out out our other articles about Enterprise Infomation Flow.

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