The Data Industry – 2017 in Review

The last 12-months has been a big for data. It has been a hot topic not only in the industry trades but also in mainstream media.

The Economist highlighted the shift in the perception of data, stating: “The world’s most valuable resource is no longer oil, but data”. While all of us at Data Republic know this to be true, it is exciting to see others are beginning to understand the true power of the data.

In May this year, the Australian Productivity Commission completed its inquiry into Data Availability and Use. Prior to its release the Chairman of the commission, Peter Harris, was frustrated with the status of data and data policies in Australia and likened the rules for data destruction set by the Commonwealth Government policy as ‘akin to burning books’. You can read Mr Harris’s full speech or an article by The Mandarin, which does a great job in summarising his views.

As companies are beginning to see the benefits and opportunities open data can provide to understanding your business, AdNews says there needs to be an awareness of the value of data exchange: with great data comes great responsibility.

On this awareness, in June this year, Data Governance Australia published a code of conduct for collecting and sharing customer data to promote the responsible use of data. The AFR approached Paul McCarney, who also sits on the board of DGA, for comment;

We are at the stage where huge productivity gains are about to be unlocked from people leveraging their data,” Paul said. “As this continues, there could be increasing confusion about how people are treating data, and there needs to be an understanding about accountability to the market in how data is treated for customers.

During the year there has been a lot of misunderstanding on how people’s data is used, and as a result the “red tape” that seems to be put up around privacy and the effect of this on Australia will be to stifle innovation in the digital economy. Other than how the data is used, the question on security continues to be a concern around data sharing and use. Our CEO and Co-Founder, Paul McCarney, had some strong views on managing the privacy and security complexities of open data, as it is the gap that needs to be addressed to ensure data sharing is promoted and trusted by businesses and individuals alike.

Alongside the Productivity Commission’s inquiry into data, this year also saw the review of barriers to competition in banking which has led to the ‘open banking regime’. This open banking regime will mean that individuals will soon be in control of their own banking data rather than their banks and financial institutions. But what will this mean for you? Paul McCarney told finder.com.au exactly what this means for banks and their customers

In the last couple of months, we have seen a shift by companies and Government agencies overseas looking to utilise shared data. While ‘open data’ can be accessed by anyone and is made available for free by a number of governments, ‘shared data’ needs a secure, governed environment where use, analysis and movement can be monitored and controlled by the organisation providing it. In October the NSW Government announced that they too were looking to take advantage of an open and shared marketplace, and looked to Data Republic to develop this.

On the NSW Governments move to provide an online marketplace for public use, Paul McCarney said: “Recognising the importance of share data is a big step in the right direction for NSW as data moves to become the world’s most valuable resource. We hope this partnership will empower other governments and agencies to participate in similar data initiatives, facilitating better interoperability.”

We also wanted to share some of our company milestones during the year: