Report: Public and Private Sectors Realizing Benefits of Open Data

Washington, D.C., January 23, 2019 — The Data Foundation and Grant Thornton’s Public Sector practice today released the third edition of The State of the Union of Open Data, which draws on 33 in-depth interviews with senior government and private-sector leaders.

This year’s report surveyed leaders in the open data world about the current landscape in three categories: data standardization, publication and sharing, and use.

“Our annual report seeks to inform the public’s understanding of open data’s history and current trends and highlight the perspectives of open data leaders,” said Sarah Joy Hays, interim president of the Data Foundation. “For three consecutive years, our survey on The State of the Union of Open Data indicates that open data is making strides. Its benefits are exponential: open data use can be applied to many different sectors of society and government, including healthcare, housing, education, and national defense.”

“Open data has grown well beyond its original applications in government. Increased standardization, sharing, and most importantly, use of open data has resulted in greater efficiency of government programs, expanded transparency, and better results,” said Adam Hughes, director of marketing and government affairs for Grant Thornton’s Public Sector practice. “We know from experience the expanded use of open data as reflected in this year’s report will help accelerate improvements in government programs and services and allow agency leaders to make better decisions about how to allocate scarce government resources.”

Key Findings:

  • Nearly 84 percent of respondents reported progress on data standardization at their agency or organization in the past year, compared with 81.8 percent last year.

  • Nearly 85 percent of survey respondents reported improved data publication or sharing at their agency or organization in the past year, versus 76.2 percent in last year’s report.

  • Almost all – 96.9 percent – respondents say data use for informed decision-making and insight has improved at their agency or organization over the past year.

  • 93.6 percent of respondents indicate they believe standardization, sharing, and open data use will improve in the immediate future, compared with 79.2 percent of 2017 respondents.

  • Survey respondents identify internal management as the leading benefit of open data, followed by transparency and automated reporting.                     

Key Report Quotes:

  • “Opening up data allows exponentially more users to use that data in varied ways. When the federal government acts as a wholesale data provider rather than a retail technology provider, it saves taxpayers money and gives them more choices.” ─Brandon Brown, Chief Data Officer (CDO), Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor   

  • “Open data allows for a ‘whole society’ view of programs, advancing the discovery, analysis, and utilization of data across sectors.” ─Barb Cohn, CDO, Colorado Department of Transportation

Full list of interviewees:

  • Srinivas Bangarbale, CDO, Commodity Futures Trading Commission

  • Nick Benes, CDO, Office of Naval Research, U.S. Navy

  • Andrea Brandon, Deputy Assistant Secretary, Department of Health and Human Services

  • Brandon Brown, CDO, Wage and Hour Division, Department of Labor

  • Barb Cohn, CDO, Senior Consultant, Colorado Department of Transportation

  • Michael Dalton, Research Economist, Office of Employment and Unemployment Statistics, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Department of Labor

  • Dan Doney, CEO, Securrency

  • Robin Doyle, Managing Director, Office of Regulatory Affairs, JP Morgan

  • Justin Fessler, Artificial Intelligence Strategist, IBM Federal

  • Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC-5), U.S. House of Representatives

  • Jo Guo, Director of Business Solutions, Indexes, Morningstar

  • Nick Hart, Director, Evidence-Based Policymaking Initiative, Bipartisan Policy Center

  • Yolanda Jones, Director, Office of Grants Systems Modernization, Department of Health and Human Services

  • Frank Kohstall, Director of Public Affairs, Ohio State Treasurer

  • Barney Krucoff, Interim Chief Technology Officer, District of Columbia

  • Andrew Lalor, Assistant Secretary, Data and Digital, Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, Australia

  • Julia Lane, Ph.D., Professor, Wagner Graduate School of Public Service, New York University

  • Dave Lindsay, CEO, Delv

  • Jeremy McQueen, CDO, State of Alabama

  • Jon Minkoff, CDO, Enforcement Bureau, Federal Communications Commission

  • Mike Peckham, ReImagine Grants Initiative Lead, Department of Health and Human Services

  • Mark Reger, Former Deputy Controller, White House Office of Management and Budget

  • Natalie Rico, Senior Policy Analyst, Office of Federal Financial Management, White House Office of Management and Budget

  • Carlos Rivero, CDO, Commonwealth of Virginia

  • Ken Romano, Product Director, Associated Press

  • Liz Rowe, Former CDO, State of New Jersey

  • Kris Rowley, CDO, General Services Administration

  • Laurie A. Schintler, Associate Professor, Schar School of Policy and Government, George Mason University

  • David Stringfellow, Chief Economist, Office of the Utah State Auditor

  • Chris Taggart, CEO, OpenCorporates

  • Marc Teerlink, Global Vice President, SAP Leonardo

  • Rich Wang, CDO, State of Arkansas

  • Jane Wiseman, Innovations in Government Fellow, Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, Harvard Kennedy School 

Methodology

A standardized survey instrument was used to draw a set of common responses, with some survey questions repeated from the previous year to illuminate changes. Interviewees were also encouraged to provide context and additional observations to enrich the standardized response.

About The Data Foundation

The Data Foundation is the nation’s first industry-focused open data research organization. Through research, education, and programming, the Data Foundation supports the publication of government information as standardized, open data.

About Grant Thornton LLP

Founded in Chicago in 1924, Grant Thornton LLP (Grant Thornton) is the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd, one of the world’s leading organizations of independent audit, tax and advisory firms. Grant Thornton, which has revenues in excess of $1.8 billion and operates 58 offices, works with a broad range of dynamic publicly and privately held companies, government agencies, financial institutions, and civic and religious organizations.

“Grant Thornton” refers to Grant Thornton LLP, the U.S. member firm of Grant Thornton International Ltd (GTIL). GTIL and the member firms are not a worldwide partnership. Services are delivered by the member firms. GTIL and its member firms are not agents of, and do not obligate, one another and are not liable for one another’s acts or omissions. Please see grantthornton.com for further details.

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