Every company generates data that would be of significant value to its customers, partners and potential partners; information that could be combined with insights from this ecosystem, public data and other sources to generate significant new discoveries, products and business values. But making our data available, easily consumable and getting payback for sharing it are significant hurdles.

Over many years we have built up an ever-more complex web of security, legal and data management practices that make it nearly impossible to share valuable info between companies in an open marketplace style – which is exactly what is needed to open up this value.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. There is a new approach that leading enterprises and governments are taking today that is significantly simpler, more manageable and empowers companies to share their key data more freely, opening up massive new market opportunities for all. Here's how a few Forrester clients are taking advantage of this new model:

  • New York City. By opening up various data sets to the public, The Big Apple has seen innovations that have improved garbage collection, utilities efficiency and citizen safety. One means of opening up its data has been through hackathons that invite companies to mash up city content with other sources and create value add services and applications. Two of the most popular apps to emerge so far:  WorkPlus, a mobile app that helps home workers find alternative workplaces that meet the user’s requirements throughout the city and ParkAlly, which creates a “citizen’s marketplace” to help people find parking spaces.
  • American Airlines. At the recent South by Southwest conference in Austin, Texas, American Airlines opened up some of its data in a similar exercise and out came new capabilities for real-time route optimization for your trip to the airport, predicting if you can make it from one gate to another to catch an earlier connection and other new capabilities that could become future features of the AA.com web site and mobile application.
  • NASDAQ and NYSE Euronext. The financial market has been sharing data for a while now through a cloud-based data aggregator, Xignite who provides a standard platform for sharing and a robust programmatic interface to the data market. NASDAQ and NYSE Euronext both leverage Xignite to provide real-time, historical, and reference data to investment firms who use this to build better trading algorithms, analyze risk, build new investment services and products, and better target potential clients. And many of these financial firms, then turn around and sell their insights back to other financial firms via the same exchange.

On May 6th, at Forrester's Forum in Washington, D.C. Security & Risk Management analyst Eve Maler and I will detail  this new approach in our Monday morning keynote and how you can gain from it to achieve greater insights and more informed business decisions. We’ll also talk about how companies such as Kaiser Permanente, Lowes and numerous other enterprises are leveraging this new capability and accelerating business innovation and improvement. We will be repeating this talk for our European customers on June 10th at the Forrester Forum in London.

This new approach won’t just be the topic of our keynote. Several other sessions at Forrester's Forum will flesh out this big idea. Analyst Jennifer Belissent will discuss how the open government movement is resulting in significant improvements in government services and citizen empowerment at all levels of public service. Analyst Ed Ferrara will help you determine the commercial value of your data. And Analyst Boris Evelson will show you how business intelligence is adapting to greater volumes of data and yielding insights faster.

This new approach to data sharing is the next big shift in business intelligence. In all aspects of business (and life) we can derive far greater value from having a more complete picture. When you visit the hospital, you get better care when the doctors know more about your medical history, what drugs you are taking and how they would interact with those they might prescribe. In retail, you can more accurately fulfill your customers’ needs if you know who they are, what they have bought from you before, what they can afford, and where they go next when they leave your store.

But no company has anywhere near a complete picture. We do the best we can with the information we can gather through customer interactions and what we ask our customers and suppliers to share with us and what data we can buy. But no one’s interested in sharing more than they have to for fear of that data getting misused or stolen. And no one wants to share the really valuable data for free. But you should. And you can. Come join us at Forrester's Forum to learn how.