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How companies can unearth the hidden gems in their data vaults

Private companies are sitting on some of the most lucrative and socially valuable data in existence. In discussions with CEOs trying pitch their latest product feature to me, I regularly end up stumbling upon far more interesting news once we start talking about the data they are collecting on their users.

Here’s a primer on how companies can unearth the hidden gems in their data vaults.


NYC Open Data Advocates Focus on Quality And Value Over Quantity

The New York City Department of Information Technology and Telecommunications plans to publish more than double the amount of datasets this year than it published to the portal last year, new Commissioner Anne Roest wrote last week in an annual report mandated by the city's open data law, with 135 datasets scheduled to be released this year, and almost 100 more to come in 2015.

But what what matters more to New York City open data advocates than the absolute number of the datasets is their quality and values: creating a transparent process of releasing the data, making the data machine-readable and prioritizing release of data sets in high demand. As preparations are underway for City Council hearings on the law, New York City's open data progress and challenges are both a model for and reflective of open data efforts across the country.


Chief Data Officer: Do You Need One?

The role of Chief Data Officer is relatively new in the corporate world. In fact, nearly two-thirds of CDO positions have been created within just the past three years, according to research by Yang Lee, a professor at Northeastern University's D'Amore-McKim School of Business and co-director of MIT's Chief Data Officer Research Program; and Randy Bean, CEO and managing partner of management consultancy NewVantage Partners.


How cities around the world can tap into a big data goldmine

Microsoft's Gary Wachowicz on how cities around the world are harnessing business intelligence tools to improve city services

In my travels around the world I see governments trying to solve a range of complex challenges and find new ways to meet their goals, often with fewer resources. At the same time, the rise of connected devices and ways of collecting information means that many are sitting on a wealth of data that could hold the insights that they need to tackle the issues they face.

Using this goldmine isn’t just about enhancing government services. In fact, Microsoft-sponsored research from IDC found that government organizations worldwide could gain over £150 billion in value from data over the next four years by bringing together information from multiple systems and using new business intelligence (BI) tools to turn it into insights they can apply to their everyday roles. So what are ‘modern cities’ doing to harness the potential of these riches and use major technology trends – such as the cloud, mobile, social media and analytics – to their advantage?


Data-Pop Alliance: a global alliance and call for a people-centered Big Data revolution

As our lives have become increasingly digital, the amount and variety of data that the world’s population generates every day is growing exponentially, as are our capacities to extract ‘insights’ from them. The potential of ‘Big Data’ for human development and humanitarian action has stirred a great deal of both excitement and skepticism since the concept became mainstream at the dawn of the decade. But simply opposing the ‘promise and perils’ of Big Data is a dead end; recognizing their co-existence a mere starting point.