3 Core Outcomes from a Successful Open Data Program

November 13, 2015 12:00 pm PST | Data as a Service

Editor’s note: This guest post by Mary Velan originally appears on Efficient Gov.

When asked what they might expect from an open data program, many city leaders may focus on shiny, new technologies not realizing the most important component is the outcome. The value of open data solutions lies not in the technology itself but in its ability to help municipalities achieve their goals. For example:

  • City of Raleigh, NC has published some of the most capturing heat maps available to constituents. Whether it be DUI arrests, bus stops, neighborhoods with strong engagement, or even electric vehicle charging station maps, the city of Raleigh is focused on delivering information to their community in a way they can digest and interact with.
  • The City and County of San Francisco use open data to push health inspection score data into environments like Yelp to help publish government information directly in the medium that can impact the quality of life of their citizens. With this level of insight directly in the hands of the consumer, government agencies can focus on hotspots for foodborne illnesses and drive healthier communities at large.

Shawn Ahmadi, an Open Data Consultant with Socrata, spoke with EfficientGov about aligning open data technologies with government priorities and community needs to drive impact and efficiency. There are three specific types of outcomes that can be achieved with open data programs:

  • Using government data to complement the quality of life in the community
  • Improving the operational processes through better access and use of data
  • Stimulating local and regional economic growth and activity

The key to driving these outcomes is by defining your city’s needs and tying them to one of the outcomes. This will ensure open data technology is being leveraged to address specific disparities and come up with unique solutions. “Open data is not a product that either fits or does not fit a specific organization,” Ahmadi told EfficientGov. “Rather, it is a resource and tool that can be applied to achieve one or many outcomes.

Municipalities must define the desirable outcomes for the community as well as internal operations and then apply open data resources as a means to the end. “The greatest asset a government has its its people,” Ahmadi explained. “Therefore, it is imperative that people have access to the information they need to drive decisions.”

For more on how to achieve desired outcomes through open data programs, read the full post on EfficientGov. And, if you’re looking to see how Socrata can help you accomplish your goals and achieve your top initiatives, set up a demo today.


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