This week, the GovLab released a new paper focused on the ways in which small and medium-sized enterprises and startups can and are using open data as a business asset. Open Data: A 21st Century Asset for Small and Medium Sized Enterprises authored by Network chief of research Stefaan Verhulst and Robyn Caplan, “analyzes ten aspects of open data and establishes ten principles for its effective use by SMEs. Taken together, these offer a roadmap for any SME considering greater use or adoption of open data in its business.”
Key findings in the paper include:
- SMEs, which often lack access to data or sophisticated analytical tools to process large datasets, are likely to be one of the chief beneficiaries of open data.
- Government data is the main category of open data being used by SMEs. A number of SMEs are also using open scientific and shared corporate data.
- Open data is used primarily to serve the Business-to-Business (B2B) markets, followed by the Business-to-Consumer (B2C) markets. A number of the companies studied serve two or three market segments simultaneously.
- Open data is usually a free resource, but SMEs are monetizing their open-data-driven services to build viable businesses. The most common revenue models include subscription-based services, advertising, fees for products and services, freemium models, licensing fees, lead generation and philanthropic grants.
- The most significant challenges SMEs face in using open data include those concerning data quality and consistency, insufficient financial and human resources, and issues surrounding privacy.