Views on Open Data Business from Software Development Companies

Antti Herala, Jussi Kasurinen, and Erno Vanhala in the Journal of Theoretical and Applied Electronic Commerce Research: “The main concept of open data and its application is simple; access to the publicly-funded data provides greater returns from the public investment and can generate wealth through the downstream use of outputs, such as traffic information or weather forecast services. However, even though open data and data sharing as concepts are forty years old with the open data initiative reaching ten, the practical actions and applications have tended to stay on the superficial level, and significant progress or success stories are hard to find. The current trend is that the governments and municipalities are opening their data, but the impact and usefulness of raw open data repositories to citizens – and even to businesses – can be questioned Besides the governments, a handful of private organizations are opening their data in an attempt to unlock the economic value of open data, but even they have difficulties finding innovative usage, let alone generate additional profit.

In a previous study it was found that companies are interested in open data and that this mindset spans over different industries, from both publicly available data to the private business-to-business data access. Open data is not only a resource for software companies, but also for traditional engineering industries and even for small, nonfranchised local markets and shops. In our previous study, it was established that there is evidence  on recognizing the applicability of open data, and opening the data to the clients by private organizations leads to business opportunities, creating new value.

However, while there is interest towards open data in a wide variety of businesses, the question still remains whether or not open data is actually used to generate income or are there some other sharing methods in use that are more efficient and more profitable.

For this study, four research questions were formulated. The first three are concentrating on the usage of open data as well as the interest towards opening or sharing data and the fourth research question revolves around the different types of openness:

  • How do new clients express interest towards open data?
  • What kind of open data-based solutions is the existing clientele expecting?
  • How does the product portfolio of a software company respond to open data?
  • What are the current trends of open initiatives?…(More)”.