“Concerns about data quality and limitations, reliability, privacy, and continued accessibility impede business use.”

(“Getting the Most Out of Open Data”
Forrester Research, Inc. – August 8, 2013)

Today, many organizations are gaining valuable insights from “open data”—publically available information—that government agencies have released in response to public calls for transparency and accountability, and to encourage better policy making and consumer engagement. The good news is that as federal and state mandates have increased over the past few years, we’re seeing an explosion of open data available. The bad news is that businesses face the hard task of deciphering a tremendous amount of unstructured information. But if done right, it’s a task worth doing, to build a company’s economic value and gain competitive edge.

The more open data a company obtains, the greater the insights they can uncover about their customer experience. However, if the company does not take a systematic approach to open data program design, or if they don’t possess a strong data analytics team, their attempts to effectively leverage open data can go to waste.

Beyond the Arc uses data on credit card complaints published by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to help retail banks evaluate and improve their customer experience strategies, as well as compare themselves against competitors.

(“Getting the Most Out of Open Data”
Forrester Research, Inc. – August 8, 2013)

In a recent report, Forrester® Research, Inc. interviewed Beyond the Arc, Inc. and other firms for insights about leveraging open data to understand, respond to, and anticipate consumer issues and complaints. “Getting the Most Out of Open Data” highlights:

  • Benefits of increased government open data initiatives
  • Existing or potential concerns/limitations in open data analysis
  • Ideal methodologies and solutions to ensure strong and improved open data availability

Sifting through massive amounts of consumer information can seem daunting—especially when data sets are incomplete, as they often are. However, as the report reveals, employing an organized approach, focused on finding the right information you need to improve your customer experience, can pay off.

Yet to get the most out of publically accessible consumer information, businesses need to be aware of the shortcomings of data coming from external sources such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). For example, the data released is often missing critical information; systems can get overwhelmed by high demand for a certain data set; and the threat of potential privacy breaches looms overhead.

With that in mind, an important best practice is to start your data analysis process with a thorough review and assessment of the quality and reliability of the open data. This “hands on” approach can help you gain greater business value from your efforts.

The report, “Getting the Most Out of Open Data,” is available to Forrester clients, and for purchase by non-clients. Get the report >