Driven By Data

Written by The Financial Express | Updated: Jul 24 2014, 06:16am hrs
Just how valuable data has become in todays information-led economy is clear from the World Banks endorsement of global open datas business potential in a recent policy paper. The paper, Open Data for Economic Growth, doesnt assign a value to this potential, though it prominently cites a McKinsey study from 2013 which puts the value accruing from open data analyticsthat is, gleaning out of meaningful patterns from freely available assemblages of dataat a whopping $3-6 trillion a year.

Businesses are increasingly banking on analytics to grow. For instance, in Spain, the Santander Bank, as per a 2013 KPMG report, analyses account-holders details and profiles them for uptake of other products it offers like insurance, etc. For such patterns to be recognised as reliable/usable, the data bank has to be huge, which is why the other data buzz-phrase is big data. The World Bank paper recognises governments as the prime aggregators of such data, given the size of subject populations and economies they serve. Which is exactly why realising the potential of open data would need governments to fine-tune policies and create ecosystems that nurture data-driven business. The World Bank recommends that governments not only assume the role of supplier of such data, but also lead usage to encourage adoption. In India, the government has already taken the initial steps to tap open datain data.gov.in, its open data portal, there is a place to host the data and keep it accessible for users. Key to increasing adoption, of course, will be ensuring that the data remains secure and privacy is respected. Here, there may be lessons to draw from Aadhaar, considering the UIDAIs claims of managing the large database securely.