Infinite Reuse of Data Drives Down Costs — While Boosting Efficiency
One of the primary challenges to creating a more data-driven government is making sure that employees have the data they need when they want it. However, too many governments have inefficient business processes where each request for a needed report is a one-off, instead of an opportunity to build opportunities for infinite reuse of that same report.
Here’s how data-by-request-only plays out. Let’s say three agencies in your city — the department of buildings, the comptroller’s office, and the department of environmental protection — all have distinct reasons to wonder about the number of permits issued last fiscal year, along with details on permit locations, costs associated with issuing permits, etc. If your government’s system is for staffers to request reports through the help desk, that’s three individual reports, each generated to slightly different parameters. That’s triple the effort, triple the costs, for the same results.
With a data platform, in contrast, the most current data is always available — with filters, so those three departments can easily sort and customize the data to suit their needs. For the same level of effort as any one of the reports, you can get data online, so everyone in your organization, from every department, can access the data, increasing the number of potential insights that can be achieved.
3 Big Benefits of Infinite Reuse of Data
1. Do the work a single time: Instead of your IT staff writing separate scripts again and again to meet departments’ needs, data can be put online a single time, with updates automated.
2. Provide enterprise-wide access: Rather than a one-to-one, recipient-to-fulfiller relationship, you place data on a platform available to everyone within the organization.This is particularly beneficial when there’s data available that staffers might not even be aware is collected.
3. Build on top of the data: Releasing data is a beginning, not an endpoint. With the data widely available for use, governments can build apps on top of it, extending the data’s utility.
Discover the history and fundamentals of open data in Socrata's video, The Story of Open Data.