Open data is a means

August 25, 2012

My thanks to digiphile for Tweeting about this blog posting from Ovum entitled ‘The landscape around open data and Gov 2.0 starts to take shape’. Without digging into the actual Ovum report there are some good points made in the blog post, primarily that moving to government-as-a-platform is more about culture than technology, but unlike Ovum I am less optimistic about the ability for government to make this leap within a time frame where the technology is current – I expect we’ll be talking about Gov 5.0 or 6.0 by the time the culture has started to adapt. The report importantly states that “Open data is a means, not an end”, and hence the title of this post.

All is not rosy in the report, it does list some of the “major obstacles, flaws and characteristics” that are masked by the excitement around the topic. These include spin and propaganda, privacy breaches, the challenges inherent within unstructured data and digitizing from hard-copy records, along with the “build it and they will come” mentality that wasted so much money in e-government. Some lessons might be learned from the years spent by the Latter Day Saints and genealogists attempting to get family history data online – chunks of it are still flawed due to transcription errors, crass assumptions are frequently made by users that result in them jumping to entirely unscientific conclusions from the flimsiest links between datasets and there is a great reliance on validity checks being made by those who might have some connection with the data.

Whilst the report concludes that there is no obvious answer to whether a  market is available around Gov 2.0 and open data, it still manages to remain optimistic – which as industry consultants I expect Ovum to do – they still have to make a living. However, I envisage this will remain the long hard road that e-government has been, full of potholes, wrong turnings and dead ends and in the end I question the value that the average citizen get out of it?


Who leads Gov 2.0

May 30, 2010

David Osimo,  who has been mentioned here before as a colleague of Professor Paul Foley, has made an interesting observation or two on his blog – Benchmrking e-government – web 2.0. The first is that e-government or Gov 1.0 was techie-led and hence failed for that reason. He is concerned that what he describes as policy wonks lead Gov 2.0 and it will fail due to them not being the general population. His big hope seems to be that the techies, wonks and hippies will take over the world.

I think I have to disappoint David, the world is full of Bart Simpsons and we have to create tools that they will want to use. Failing that we still have to employ the channels that Barts want to use.

In fact, I see the outcome as a combination of both and there will still be a big chunk of people out there who won’t, can’t or don’t.

Gov 2.0 again

January 1, 2010

Andrea di Maio of Gartner has hit one particular nail on the head in his blog from December 23 2009 entitled “Vendors and Consultants Should Not Be Driving Government 2.0“. In my view, they shouldn’t have been driving Government 1.o or e-government, but largely were, either having got themselves into political seats of power or acting as the power behind the thrones.

What should happening? Well better procurement for a start, instead of getting picked off one-by-one by suppliers and consultancy companies, government bodies and local authorities should be getting together and telling the suppliers and consultants what the citizen wants and what their role might be in providing that, if they want the business.

Money is short now at the taxpayer level and if we are going to match that situation at a government level we’ll have to sharpen up process and outcome across the board and stop reinventing wobbly wheels! We can’t keep shelling out for every new technical fad and fashion or be expected to pay for the bloatware some suppliers sell us as software applications.

United we stand, divided we keep paying through the nose!

Andrea also picks up am interesting “Top ten for Gov 2.0 in 2009“. Government IT staff will appreciate number one!