Posted on: Tuesday 29th of November 2011
Playing down good news isn’t something one expects from politicians these days, but there’s at least one real driver for growth buried in George Osborne’s Autumn Statement. In it he announced new Open Data measures, and this signals a battery of initiatives that will present new and exciting opportunities to outperform our decreased growth forecast. According to the Cabinet Office the measures will, ‘open up public sector data to make travel easier and healthcare better, and create significant growth for industry and jobs in the UK.’ More Open Data will ‘allow entrepreneurs to develop useful applications for business and consumers’. The new Open Data Institute, to which the Government will provide up to £10 million over five years, will ‘help business exploit the opportunities created by release of public data.’
Ctrl-Shift is right behind Open Data measures, but we’re also convinced that the greatest opportunities to innovate and drive value creation lie when you add personal data to the mix. Personal data multiplies the value of Open Data and together these rich new data sources will drive the new market for Personal Information Management Services (PIMS).
Up to now the potential of the PIMS market has been rendered invisible by organisation-centric assumptions about data gathering and management but these assumptions are being challenged. As individuals start to manage and share their own data it’s triggering the growth of three completely new markets.
Firstly the market for better decisions – services that help individuals gather, sift, analyse, deploy and share information to help them make and implement better decisions. We estimate the market for consumer-decision support services is already worth £1.5bn in the UK and growing fast.
Secondly the market for life management services. Today, each organisation collects data about its own customers, which means that data about each individual is dispersed across hundreds of different organisations, none of which can see the full picture. If they try to share customer data with each other they invade individuals’ privacy and risk breaching the Data Protection Act. The result is duplication, waste and missed opportunities. By helping individuals join up the dots of information about their own lives, new services can help them manage their lives more efficiently, for example ‘move home’ or ‘manage my money’.
Lastly the market for personal data management – tools and services that helps individuals store, manage and share their personal data better and in ways they can control. Personal data stores or ‘lockers’, permission brokers and identity verification services are examples of the new services in this arena.
Each of these markets deliver value by gathering and sharing information. Moreover, organisations participating in this data sharing will have opportunities to create business efficiencies by cutting costs, improving data quality and accuracy by involving customers in the curation of their own data, and innovating new services.
So in a nutshell, Open Data is to be applauded, but it’s a tantalising glimpse of what could be achieved to support the UK economy if the whole ecosystem of data sharing is enabled and nurtured.