Examining open data as a source of competitive advantage for big businesses Jamie Fawcett Open Data Institute, London, UK [email protected]
Abstract. This exploratory research aims to tackle the gap in knowledge on how big businesses (with over 250 employees) engage with open data. It aims to do this by exploring how big businesses, active in the UK, are engaging with open data and their motivations in doing so. It then assesses these engagements to determine whether they could be considered a source of competitive advantage. To do this it will draw on existing primary data collected during two previous ODI studies on businesses and open data, Open data means business (Open Data Institute, 2015)  and Open Enterprise  (ODI, 2016). We show that the big businesses examined are using, publishing and investing in open data. Though these activities and the motivation behind them vary there is a strong case to believe that they could form part of either a cost leadership or differentiation strategy to secure competitive advantage. Although further study is recommended to fully explore and understand their engagement with open data as a source of competitive advantage. Keywords: open data, competitive advantage
Research into open data tends to focus on assessing impact, looking at the real world effects of publishing, using and investing in open data. This has been the focus in order to assess and communicate the value that is being derived from open data. Advancing the open data movement appears to be the primary motivation behind existing research by persuading more companies, countries and members of civil society to engage with open data. Much of this impact can be described using the triple bottom line model of social, environmental and economic impact.  This model measures impact of organisations beyond traditional economic models for evaluation. This has been chosen to reflect the multiple potential impacts of open data. Initial research on open data mainly focuses on open data publishing and its role in transparency,  in driving civic engagement and in its direct usage.  This has led to a number of ongoing longitudinal studies, such as the Open Data Barometer  and Open Data Index, which evaluate the nature of governmental open data publishing over time.
Further studies have gone on to assess the social and environmental implications of these releases.  Alongside these traditionally more focused studies, a number of different assessments of economic impact [10, ?]. These tend to focus on the macroeconomic value of publishing public sector data  or specifically the innovative use of that data by smaller companies . This has lead to a gap in knowledge about the overall value of open data, specifically that related to use, publishing and investment by the wider private sector. In this paper we aim to partially address this gap in knowledge. To do this, we will briefly examine existing work into business engagement with open data and make the case for examining large businesses in particular. We will then examine the value of assessing not only usage but also publishing and investment to get a more holistic picture of the state of private sector open data engagement. We will then introduce competitive advantage and the strategies to pursue it, in order to examine the potential benefits for assessing big business engagement with open data. We then explore the three types of engagement large businesses have with open data we have proposed; using, publishing and investing in. Following on from this, we will discuss whether these activities and the motivations behind them could constitute a pursuit of competitive advantage strategies. Finally we will draw conclusions on whether big business engagement with open data can be considered a source of potential competitive advantage. 1.1
Open data and business
To date, research into the triple bottom line impact open data of business engagement has focused on innovative usage by individual developers, startups and small businesses. Normally, this research tends to focus around specific case studies of businesses using open data 1 . There have been a smaller number of case studies which have examined the publishing of data by such companies, for example the Guru Systems case study produced by the ODI . A number of studies have aimed to capture the wider state of private sector engagement with open data, for instance; the ODIs Open data means business study , the Gov Labs US Open data 500 study  and others . While we have advanced our understanding of business use and wider engagement significantly, there has been less progress in assessing the relationship between open data and large established businesses. We define big businesses using the European Union definition of a large enterprise as one with over 250 employed persons . The Open data means business study (ODI, 2015) demonstrated that there are at least a few of these companies engaging with open data. Nearly 10% of all the open data companies identified in this study fit into this category. Interestingly, in 2015, 99.9% of UK companies were SMEs , which suggests that a greater number of big businesses are engaging with open data than smaller ones. This could potentially 1
For example; http://www.europeandataportal.eu/en/training-library/library http://theodi.org/search?q=case+study http://odimpact.org/ http://opendataaha.net/
be due to lower digital skills among SMEs , although this is difficult to confirm given the sample size of the study. We believe that these businesses need to be included to help drive forward the open data agenda. Not exploring these engagements in more depth threatens to skew our approaches to open data advocacy and policy making. If we fail to tackle this problem we will likely alienate large companies from engaging meaningfully with open data. This is likely to make them resistant to the open data movement. The limits of examining use Before examining engagement of big businesses with open data, we need to define how we conceive the nature of engagement with open data. For a number of reasons, our conception of engagement goes beyond usage. One reason is that usage is difficult to assess, particularly when it comes to the private sector. This could be because large businesses, indeed businesses in general, appear to often fail to publicise their usage of open data. This could be because they dont want others to know that they are making use of open data, potentially to stop competitors from copying their strategy. Another potential reason is that the concept of open data isnt widely understood within large organisations, so while one part of an organisation may be using, and be familiar with, open data, they dont necessarily communicate this with other departments or the public. Despite this identified lack of communication and promotion, we believe that usage of open data amongst large enterprises is likely to be very high, however measuring the amount of usage is difficult. We also believe that encouraging big businesses to use open data is not enough to improve their involvement with the open data movement. Furthermore, using open data is not the only means by which big businesses are engaging with open data. We examine two other ways big businesses are engaging with open data, publishing and investing. When it comes to big businesses publishing open data, it should be easier to assess than usage, given that data is made available under an open licence. However it can present difficulties because big businesses rarely use the same publishing infrastructure as the public sector, namely open data portals. Although there are some exceptions, for example Yorkshire Water publishes data on the Data Mill North . In addition, they often do not promote their published data clearly, which can again be put down to a lack of organisation recognition of open data as a distinct construct. The final category of engagement we assess is investing in open data. This is necessarily a looser type engagement which is easier to assess. Investing in open data can be defined as anything from sponsoring events, carrying out research, paying others to release data and investing in companies using open data. We believe these measures are indicative of an interest in wider engagement with open data, as opposed to a significant commitment like use or publishing. 1.2
Assessing competitive advantage
The theory of competitive advantage was first set out by Michael Porter (1985)  who postulated that when businesses are able to balance between two basic
factors of competitive advantage price and quality it usually leads to a successful product or service. The balancing of these two leads to the creation of the highest value, he says, in essence, competitive advantage grows fundamentally from the value a firm is able to create (Porter, 1985, p3). Porter (1985, p3) defines value as what buyers are willing to pay and he goes on to state that superior value stems from offering lower prices than competitors for equivalent benefits or providing unique benefits that more than offset higher prices. He goes on to explain that a firm is profitable if the value it commands exceeds the costs involved in creating the product and thus creating value for buyers that exceeds the cost of doing so is the goal of any generic strategy (Porter, 1985, p 38). Most importantly for Porter (1985, p 38) value, instead of cost, must be used in analyzing competitive position.  This means that where companies are able to deliver a product or service that brings greater value to their customers, based on a balance between price and quality, they will be able to secure a competitive advantage. The ideal balance of price and quality for any given product or service will depend entirely on the business itself, its reputation and market position and what they hope to achieve within their given market, when compared to their competition (Porter, 1985).  Porter then goes on to lay out two three basic strategies that businesses can adopt in order to pursue competitive advantage a cost leadership strategy and a differentiation strategy, as described below. Cost leadership strategy With a cost leadership strategy, a business aims to produce a product or service at a lower cost than its competitors. Even though the product or service costs the business less, it must be perceived as equivalent or comparable to other competitors offerings . In this way, the company can provide additional value to the customer by transferring the cost benefit to them, this can be referred to as the discount store model . The same strategy can be realised when a company produces the same quality product and sells it at the same price as a competitor while reducing cost which can be referred to as the department store model . Either model should result in an improved profit margin, given the lower cost of creating the same quality product. Deriving lower costs can come from securing a low-cost base from which to produce that given product or service, for instance labour, capital or materials. By securing lower costs to produce a product or service, companies can create a competitive advantage within the market for that product or service. Differentiation strategy With a differentiation strategy, a business aims to produce a product or service which is notably different from similar competitor products or services. It is important that this difference is perceived as important by customers. The difference or perceived difference must set the product or service apart from its competitors to persuade customers they will receive additional benefit. This additional benefit is used to justify an increased price premium which they are willing to pay to secure that benefit. It is important
that the cost of this differentiated product or service remains very close to the competitors product or service costs so as to not lose the benefit of the additional premium. In order to pursue a differentiation strategy businesses need to invest in strong research and development programmes which bring about innovative ideas to create and improve products and services. It is also necessary for businesses to understand their customers desires and communicate the differential nature of their products and services effectively with them . By creating and maintaining a product or service which is suitably different from competitors products and services at the same or similar costs, companies can create a competitive advantage within the market.
Relevant work on competitive advantage Since Porters original book (1985) competitive advantage theory has been applied to a wide range of different markets and processes . For the purpose of this paper, we will examine some of the developments in the area of information technology, the internet and even openness as sources of competitive advantage. Porter and Millar (1985)  argued that emerging technologies are responsible for creating competitive advantage. They argue that new technologies adopted within companies and industries, and the information revolution more generally create competitive advantage in three ways - by altering industry structures, supporting cost and differentiation strategies and spawn new challenger businesses (Porter & Millar, 1985). Further to this, Porter (2001)  argued that the internet was a valuable source of competitive advantage, however only when it enabled other strategies to be followed. He argues that the internet, like other technologies, enables cost and differentiation strategies to be pursued more effectively by existing organisations. Others have followed this work by examining the role of the internet for deriving and communicating competitive intelligence (Teo, 2001) . Again this supports the idea that the internet itself can be used to enhance competitive advantage when used to supplement existing strategies. While emerging technologies have clearly been linked to competitive advantage, less work has been done on the concept of openness as a source of it. Other studies have explored the necessity of being externally driven by customer demand (Woodruff, 1997) . They argue that being open and responsive to customers is important for securing competitive advantage. Other research investigates how open source software (Wardley, 2013) , open innovation strategies (Gemuenden, Rohrbeck & Hlzle, 2009)  and other open approaches (Noyes, 2011)  might confer competitive advantage. We build on this work to assess whether open data can be considered to confer competitive advantage by helping companies to realise the generic strategies mentioned in section 1.2.
Methodology Research and survey responses from Open data means business
This research and survey data was collected during Open data means business study (ODI, 2015). Part of the original research data was made available as open data by the ODI. The questionnaire for the survey has been published. Furthermore, the methodology of this research was made publically available by the ODI. Based on publically available sources we identified 33 companies with over 250 employees based in the UK from our sample of 270 companies from the Open data means business data. This selection was based on incomplete data provided by Companies House through a third party provider which could not be re-published as part of the original publically-available dataset. The type of engagement with open data has been categorised and separated from the original research dataset. Based on the survey run, we identified 6 respondent companies who have more than 250 employees from 79 responses. This selection was based on their response to question 2 (What is the size of your company?). The analysis of these responses was based on only a subsection of questions: 1,2,5,7,9,11. A list of the full questions analysed is made available in Appendix III. 2.2
Interviews from Open enterprise
The interview data used in this research was originally collected to inform the Open Enterprise (ODI, 2016)  report. It comprises of nine in-depth interviews carried out with both data practitioners and business strategists from three big businesses in the UK. Using thematic analysis, we drew out the key engagement activities and strategies within each organisation. Each of the three large businesses were selected based on open data engagement beyond just use: – Syngenta  a global agriculture business that helps farmers make better use of their available resources, primarily through agrochemical and seed production. In order to continue to advance crop productivity, it invested more than $1.4bn in research and development (R&D) across 150 international sites in 2014. – Thomson Reuters  a multinational organisation that provides news and information to industry professionals. The company offers a wide range of services primarily around information and data in areas including finance and risk, law, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science. Thomson Reuters reported $12.2bn in revenue in 2015. – Arup a multinational professional services firm that provides design, engineering and consulting services for the built environment. It has around 11,000 employees and had a turnover of 1.05bn in 2014.
Due to its exploratory nature this research is not representative of the phenomenon of open data engagement by big businesses. Sample sizes examined are in contrast to the suspected population size. The sampling methods of prior research we used followed a snowballing strategy. This can be explained by the emerging nature of open data and big business research. The complexity of identifying companies engaging with open data have already been discussed in the section 1.11.
From our mixed methods research we identified a number of different activities being carried out by big businesses, as well as motivations and strategic concerns. In this section we lay out our findings on big business engagement with open data in the three areas; using, producing and investing. 3.1
Using open data
From publically available sources we identified nine big businesses which use open data. A full list of those and what activities with open data they engage with can be found in Appendix I. The majority of these companies are using open data to build or improve their products and services. From the survey, using questions 5, 7 and 9, we discerned that all 6 respondents were using open data. When answering question 5 explicitly (How does your company currently use open data?) they each gave an indication of what they were using it for. Three explicitly stated that their company develops products based on open data. Three also stated that their company provides insights based on open data. When looking at questions 7 and 9 which determine the data that they used, four explicitly stated they use open government data (question 7) and four explicitly stated they use open non-government data (question 9). When asked to name their products and services which use open data (question 11); two explicitly reported some form of consulting, one reported research studies and one stated they were not able to share this information. Interviews From the interviews we discovered that according to participants, each of the big businesses we analysed, has become, at least in part, a digital business which supplies data products and services internally or directly to customers. Participants also confirmed that all organisations had long used some form of publically available information. Several of the participants gave specific examples of how they were doing this. Firstly, one participant described how Arup used open geospatial data to derive location-based insight services for its clients. They also alluded to how Arups Hazard Owl risk information system is
based on real-time open and shared environmental data to constantly assess the risk of damage to commercial assets, such as office buildings or factories. Participants from Arup also mentioned how the use of open source software and open demographic, environmental and geospatial data was used to build tool to help customers with sandscaping the management of sand to support coastal protection or regeneration. They also reported the use of ONS demographic data for urban planning and design projects they are involved in. In the case of Syngenta, participants discussed how they used open and shared data related to land, weather and soil conditions, as well as open biological data from the European Bioinformatics Institute, to build a detailed understanding of crop (and pest) traits. Using this to inform their understanding of e.g. tolerance to environmental pressures and resistance to viruses. Participants also mentioned using mixture of open satellite data alongside commercial solutions to improve their internal data quality. 3.2
Publishing open data
From publically available sources, we managed to identify nine big businesses who publish open data in some form. The full list of those publishing open data is made available in Appendix II. From our survey results, in answer to question 5, four of the six respondents explicitly stated that their company publishes open data. Interviews From the interview participants we identified both Thomson Reuters and Syngenta are publishing open data. We explored their motivations and reasons for publishing data as well as discussed which type of data they published. Thomson Reuters, following on from research they carried out with the help of the ODI, published the PermID reference system as open data, according to participants. Originally developed to tackle internal data silo issues, participants explained that Thomson Reuters have released the solution in order to meet the demands of their existing customers for a solution which can help them integrate their own data holdings with various Thomson Reuters products. Participants reported that by publishing the identifiers openly, as opposed to under less permissive licences, Thomson Reuters are reacting to customer needs for flexibility and re-usability. One participant explains that we believe that this is the right thing for our customers because our customers are asking for it. And, in a very broad sense, when you do what’s good for your customers, it’s generally good for you. The outcome of this decision according to participants is that it has allowed them to reduce the cost of ownership of their data. It also allows them to adapt their business model, becoming an open platform for our customers, a core piece of their operating infrastructure not just another data provider, one participant explains. They also believe it will lead to new business, with companies who are not already using their data drawn to use the system. The approach they have taken also means that the data gets improved by others, by correcting data and adding more, which can help them build additional products and services.
Syngenta are publishing open data also. Initially participants explain that this was part of their Good Growth Plan which aims to addresses the longterm challenge of ensuring global food security for a rapidly rising global population. This is a key part of Syngentas strategic goal of business sustainability by seeking to support transformation and change within the organisation, explains another participant. Initially Syngenta, with help of the ODI, published six open datasets related to its Good Growth Plan, including descriptions of productivity, soil, biodiversity and smallholder reach. As reported by participants one of Syngentas key motivations for collecting and publishing data this way was to develop external trust in the plan. One participant mentions that making the data available has resulted in an unprecedented level of transparency for the company. Participants hope that having externally visible data helps other stakeholders to place more trust in the company more generally. I was also argued that publishing open data has played an instrumental role in the promotion and communication of the Good Growth Plan. One participant explains how the release of open data received public attention in a way that wasnt expected: we’ve done publicity around the Good Growth Plan in the past when it was launched. The interest and engagement that we got from a much lower-key open data press release, all on its own, triggered similar levels of interest to some of the more expensive media-driven pushes we have done before. We were surprised at the way in which people picked up on the story. Beyond transparency, trust and reputation, participants also hope to encourage wider data sharing and publishing within the industry, having already published some data collected by external companies for Syngenta. Participants hope that publishing data will help them to attract new customers, suppliers and collaborators. As one participant puts it; the rate of data generation is increasing. The granularity is getting finer and finer all the time. All of that gives us loads more data to work with and the chances of any one organisation being able to generate the data, host the data, analyse the data and come up with brilliant answers all on their own seems vanishingly small. We have to find ways of collaborating. 3.3
Investing in open data
From publically available sources, we identified 33 big businesses investing in open data. These include a range of activities such as; carrying out research, facilitating others to publish, consulting on open data usage and publishing, and sponsoring and hosting open data events. The full details of their activities are provided with this paper. The findings of our survey show, in answer to question 5, that their company provides infrastructure for others to publish open data, another potential form of investment which was explicitly stated by two of the six respondents. Interviews From our interviews we found two particularly interesting approaches of investment in open data by big businesses. Firstly, Arup has devel-
oped an open innovation framework to partners closely with open data startups. Participants characterised the terms of these collaborations as a fundamentally more open, collaborative approach, in which they experiment more with external ideas and different joint paths to market. Participants recounted how in return for these flexible, non-capital relationships, in which they partner on specific projects as they arise, Arup provides the startups with access and desk space within their offices. Arup are currently working in this way with two open data startups previously incubated at the ODI, Mastodon C and OpenSensors. Mastodon C is a specialist big data company providing data science and technology services to a range of different organisations to help them better understand and gain insights from their data. OpenSensors is an online platform that enables anyone to publish real-time sensor data, building a repository of open real-time data. One participant explained that we think there are domains that would benefit not just from open data but from an an open innovation process. It’s not just data, it’s also open source in terms of code or the development of other digital assets. Syngenta on the other hand have taken the approach of investing in open data publishing. In 2014, they funded the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBLEBI) to extract bioactivity data from a large number of academic journals. The data covered insecticides, fungicides and herbicides, including more than 40,000 compound records related to crop protection. It was made available as open data through the ChEMBL database of bioactive molecules. Participants explained that their motivation was to use this data in a more structured and complete form than before.
Having explored the various engagements with open data, this section seeks to examine whether the above findings could be considered an opportunity to seek competitive advantage. This is done by using the two competitive advantage strategies laid out by Porter (1985) cost leadership and differentiation as mentioned in section 1.2. 4.1
Cost leadership strategy for open data
As established earlier a cost leadership strategy is one where a business aims to produce a product or service at a lower cost than those competitors. The assumption being that the use of open data, as opposed to proprietary, paidfor data, would result in lower overall costs. Our findings support this to a an extent, for instance, nine companies publically documented their use of open data in products or services and three companies in the survey indicated they develop products based on open data. This can be used to indicate that the use of open data in these products results in either lower cost or higher value, as we assume each company is likely
to maximise the cost-benefit of using different data sources. Interestingly when it comes to Arup and their usage of open data, they indicated that they had long been using publically available data and that open data was an extension of this practice. Participants from Syngenta similarly stated to use open data, in particular satellite data, increasingly within a mix of data sources - some open, some paid for. Our research suggests that any shift from either paid for or public, but not open, sources to clearly licenced open data can result in lower costs. If this proves to be the case, then it indicates that products or services of equal quality could be produced at a lower cost. Hence, in this case, big businesses using open data could form part of a cost leadership strategy for a given product or service. Arguably Thomson Reuters publishing of PermID could also be said to be lowering costs of other products and services. By publishing PermID they are increasing the value of those products to customers without increasing the cost to themselves. In addition, the fact that data is improved by increased external links, means that the product itself increases in value, without any addition cost to Thomson Reuters. Both of these can be interpreted as a form of cost leadership strategy, given the price and cost remain the same but the overall value to customers increases. 4.2
Differentiation strategy for open data
A differentiation strategy, as established before is one in which a business aims to produce a product or service to be notably different from similar competitor products or services in some particular way. Following our earlier discussion about usage of open data for products or services, it could be argued that in some cases this use generates a degree of differentiation or uniqueness. Again, it is difficult to determine this for individual examples. For instance, whether the open data used to build Arups Hazard Owl product is readily available from non-open sources, and thus more likely to form part of a cost leadership strategy, or whether the open data used provides additional value to other available data. However, it is likely that, from all the examples examined, that some of the products or services built using open data are likely to be sufficiently different from competitor services to provide them with a level of differentiation competitive advantage. Another means by which product or service differentiation could be argued to have been achieved by the big businesses examined is through the publishing of open data. The key example of which would be Thomson Reuters publish the PermID product. Indeed participants suggested that the openness of the reference data was the key selling point for the system when compared to proprietary competitor services. Participants went as far as to suggest that the motivation for publishing was based strongly on their existing customers demand. One participant mentioned that for our customers, it’s that commitment to openness of the identifier and of the information model thats important. According to one participant, Thomson Reuters believe that the value the data provides to customers through being open is it makes their data much
easier to use, which in turn makes it more accessible, more cost effective, and hopefully more widely used by [its] customers. It could thus be argued that Thomson Reuters are employing a product differentiation strategy by publishing open identifier data. While their situation for providing open reference data that enhances their existing offer might seem unique, there are potentially other means by which publishing open data might create differential products or services for large businesses, for example by employing freemium models like those employed by open data startups such as OpenCorporates.  Another interpretation of differentiation strategies can extend to companywide brand differentiation. Open data engagement by the big businesses examined could also fit into this category. According to participants, the initial push to publish open data within Syngenta was increasing corporate transparency. Aiming to increase corporate transparency is a clear brand differentiation strategy. Thomson Reuters are pursuing a similar strategy in order to increase trust in their brand. By allowing customers to freely re-use their data and committing to its ongoing openness they have improved their existing client relationships. Other businesses highlighted in the desk research for publishing could be considered to be following a similar strategy. Some might also argue that a lot of the investment activity, particularly that detailed in the desk research, might similarly be aimed at improving reputation. These forms of engagement with open data might be considered to demonstrate to customers an intention to be more transparent as well as demonstrating an awareness and support for emerging trends in technology.
We have established big businesses are engaging with open data in various ways. Their motivations, the type of engagement and their nature also vary. This research could only touch upon a small number cases, there are clear examples such as Google, Facebook and Uber, we have not been able to explore in depth. However it emerged open data has, to some extent, become embedded within these organisations. Big businesses are not only using open data but publishing and investing in it. While many of these activities remain opaque, we can begin to see the motivations and impact which are supporting big business adoption of open data. When examining big business engagement with open data through the lens of competitive advantage potential strategies emerge. While this research cannot assert that these are the strategies being used explicitly by big businesses, it supports the claim that open data could be used to achieve these aims. Cost leadership strategies for which we identified open data to be sufficiently comparable to paid alternatives, its usage could clearly form a part; independently to whether that product or service is fully digital or supported by digital assets. However, the most interesting findings arise from the understanding of the activity of publishing of open data as a means to pursue a differentiation strategy. Given the amount of data held by large businesses and the many potential
uses of that data to other stakeholders, the development of product and service differentiation strategies which involve open data publishing have shown to be key to the aims of the open data movement. 5.1
Future studies could include a greater sample size - ideally with a wide range of companies from different industries. In addition for a better understanding of the motivations and justifications for the types of engagement with open data we could investigate competitive advantage by big businesses which are engaging with open data. While this research is able to surface various engagements with open data, it does not provide a framework by which competitive advantage derived by engagement with open data could be quantified. Further research is needed to categorise the combinations of motivations and the impact of open data for big businesses into a single framework.
We would like to thank all interview participants for making this research possible, and Ian Brown, University of Southampton, for his collaboration and support in the conduct of the Thomson Reuters interviews. We would also like to thank Jack Hardinges, Jeni Tennison, Peter Wells, Amanda Smith and Tom Heath at the ODI for their contributions to the Open data means business and Open enterprise studies that informed this research. We would also like to thank Emilia Kacprzak and Laura Koesten for their patience and help during the review of this paper.
Alongside this paper, we will provide a full list of all 33 big businesses identified from the Open data means business research.
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Each of the three appendices contains content from the Open data means business study. Appendix I and Appendix II contain data from ODMB desk research for companies considered to have more than 250 employees, these are both subsections of the data made available under X licence by the ODI. The full subsection of data used for this paper has also been made available under X licence. Appendix III contains a subsection of survey questions from the Open data means business study, a full version of which has been published by the ODI. 8.1
Table 1. Desk research entries on open data usage from public sources
Registered company name
Brief company description
Esri (UK) Ltd
Esri UK is a geographic information systems (GIS) consultancy providing GIS solutions to aid operational efficiency, customer service, sustainability and asset management to businesses, governments and educational institutions
Use open geographical data
Guardian Media Group PLC
The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper with an international multimedia and web presence
Do open data journalism - visualising and analysing open data
Google is a multinational corporation specializing in Internet-related services and products, including online advertising technologies, search, cloud computing and software
Makes some open data available through Public Data Explorer, Google Maps also contains PSI licensed under OGL.
Telefonica UK Ltd
Telefonica is a multinational telecommunications provider of broadband and mobile network communications
Use open data including open weather data
Precise Media Monitoring Ltd
Precise is a business information group that provides media monitoring and media analysis services and software applications to draws insight from news, opinions and conversations
worked with the ODI to build live publicly available dashboard showing an organisation’s impact in the media using open media data
RM Education Ltd
RM Education is an education company that focuses on developing solutions for the effective use of technology in education
RM School Finder uses open schools data from Department for Education and Ofsted including School Performance Tables, GCSE Subject Results and Ofsted inspection outcomes and uses OS data
Amazon is an electronic commerce company headquartered in Seattle, Washington
Uses MusicBrainz open database for their various music related offerings
Tesco PLC is a multinational grocery and general merchandise retailer
Combines weather data from various sources, including open government data from the Met Office, with sales records across thousands of stores to create hourby-hour demand models
Atos IT Services UK Ltd
Atos is an international information technology services company that delivers IT services through Consulting & Systems Integration, Managed Operations, and transactional services through Worldline.
Redspottedhanky.com (sells train tickets) uses open railway data
Table 2. Desk research entries on open data publishing from public sources
Registered company name
Brief company description
Esri (UK) Ltd
Esri UK is a geographic information systems (GIS) consultancy providing GIS solutions to aid operational efficiency, customer service, sustainability and asset management to businesses, governments and educational institutions
Publish using freemium model to offer some free services
Guardian Media Group PLC
The Guardian is a British national daily newspaper with an international multimedia and web presence
Publishes the raw data behind the news for users to explore
BioMed Central Ltd
BioMed Central is an STM (Science, Technology and Medicine) publisher of 265 peer-reviewed open access journals.
Journals (including those of related companies SpringerOpen and ChemistryCentral) are open access, specifically important is Giga Science Journal is an online open-access open-data journal, which also openly publishes all related data in GigaDB
Building Research Establishment Ltd
BRE is a research-based consultancy, testing and training organization that offers expertise in the built environment and associated industries
publish some data on and about the built environment, see Cardington fire test data
Syngenta AG is a global agribusiness that provides seeds and agrochemicals to the agriculture industry
Publish open data and attempting to inform industry standards around open data
Nike UK Ltd
Nike is a multinational sportswear corporation engaged in the design, development, manufacturing and worldwide marketing and selling of footwear, apparel, equipment, accessories and services.
Developed the Materials Sustainability Index (MSI), a metric that allows the company to evaluate the impact of using different materials in its products. The MSI data is publicly released, available through an API under an Open Database License
ASOS.com is a global online fashion and beauty retailer providing a wide range of clothing and accessories
Opened up its product and services data to external web developers in Dec 2011
Thomson Reuters Group Ltd
Thomson Reuters is a multinational media and information company providing information services to leading decision makers in the financial and risk, legal, tax and accounting, intellectual property and science and media markets
Publish open data through PermID
Yorkshire Water Ltd
Yorkshire Water is a water supply and treatment utility company providing water collection, treatment and distribution services in Yorkshire.
Publishes datasets on Leeds Data Mill
The subsection of questions from Open data means business survey analysed in this paper. Full list of questions are also published as part of that report. Q1. Company name Q2. What is the size of your company? – – – – –
fewer than 10 employees 10 - 50 employees 51 - 250 employees 251 - 1000 employees More than 1000 employees
Q5. How does your company currently use open data? Tick all that apply. – My company publishes open data – My company provides infrastructure for others to publish open data (e.g. platforms, portals, data stores) – My company processes open data (e.g aggregation, classification, anonymization, cleaning, refining, enriching) – My company provides insights based on open data (e.g. analytics, visualisations) – My company develops products based on open data (e.g. APIs, apps) – Other: Q7. Does your company currently use open government datasets? – Yes – No Q9. Does your company currently use other open datasets, such as those provided by businesses, charities, or community projects? e.g DBpedia, Geonames, Musicbrainz, etc; please list all datasets or those of greatest significance/value to your company. – Yes – No Q11. Please name and briefly describe your company’s products and/or services that utilise open data.