Listening to Our Data Customers at the Open Data Roundtable


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Joel Gurin, Senior Advisor at The GovLab (left) and Acting Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews

Guest Blog Post by Acting Deputy Secretary Bruce Andrews

It is not hyperbole to call the Department of Commerce,“America’s Data Agency.” Other departments may house major statistical agencies. But none can rival the reach, depth, and breadth of the Commerce Department’s data programs. Our data collection literally reaches from the depths of the ocean to the surface of the sun.

As a key pillar of our “Open for Business” agenda, bureaus and leaders across the Department of Commerce are determined to maximize the return on our data investments for businesses, government, taxpayers, and communities.

As Ginni Rometty of IBM has said, “Information will be to the 21st century what steam, electricity and fossil fuels were to prior centuries.” The entire team at our Department agrees.

For the first time, Secretary Pritzker has made data a top priority for Commerce – part of the heart and soul for our strategy to strengthen our economy and deliver the tools and information needed to bolster our businesses.

The Secretary knows, as we all do, that gatherings like today’s Open Data Roundtable are essential to building bridges with the private sector, gaining input and feedback, improving our data infrastructure, and developing a system that will outlast any single Administration.

Our goal is to unleash even more government data to help business leaders make the best possible decisions, while creating fertile ground for more startups. The best way to do that is to listen to suggestions from those already using our data – and to get the private sector’s guidance on where the federal government can unlock the greatest value in our data sets.

The Open Data Roundtable, organized by the GovLab at NYU, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, and the Commerce Department, was one way we are striving to meet these goals. We heard from 21 companies from all sectors of the economy, drawn from the Open Data 500- the GovLab's study of U.S.-based companies that use open government data as a key business resource. Taken together, these businesses represent billion-dollar industries that support tens of thousands of jobs.

We understand the necessity of ensuring that data is easy to find, understand, and access. We are working with fellow government agencies and the private sector to improve data interoperability and dissemination. We recognize the urgent need to get this right, and we know that only by listening to the business community, partnering with industry, and collaborating with fellow government agencies, can we best serve our customers and unleash the full power and potential of open data.

At the Commerce Department, we are only at the beginning of this effort. We share the goals and objectives embodied by the call of the Open Data 500: to deliver data that is valuable to industry and that provides greater economic opportunity for millions of Americans.

Working across the public and private sectors, with the Commerce Department playing a leading role, we will continue to do what we can to keep America “Open for Business.”

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Last updated: 2017-09-20 14:19

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