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Examining the steady growth of open government data

Richard Jones Archive

Organizations of all types - including nonprofit organizations and public corporations, big and small - have the potential to make significant gains by investing in data.

The more information they have about their customers and any general trends in the economy, the better informed they will be about the big choices that lie ahead for them. Whether it's something small like a new piece of marketing content, or big like expanding to a new location, every decision is easier when armed with available information and data quality.

Many companies get into "big data" either by buying it or investing significant resources into collecting information directly from customers. But there's a third way that might be easier, and it may well gain popularity in the near future - the future looks bright for "open data" that's provided by the United States government.

According to Information Week, President Barack Obama has made free access to data a key priority during his second term. The commander in chief recently signed the bipartisan DATA Act into law, which requires a wide range of government offices to open their books. The Department of the Treasury, inspectors general and various law enforcement agencies, to name a few, are all expected to make their records available to all.

"The reforms of this bipartisan legislation not only move the federal bureaucracy into the digital era, but they improve accountability to taxpayers and provide tools to allow lawmakers and citizen watchdogs to root out waste and abuse," said Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Ohio), chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, according to the news source. "Government-wide structured data requirements may sound like technical jargon, but the real impact of this legislation on our lives will be more open, more effective government."

The effects of this move could be tremendous in the business world. Organizations everywhere will soon have more knowledge available to them than ever - and furthermore, they can look into data enhancement decisions that will help them make better sense of it.