Innovating in Open Data Challenges

The Organization: Colorado Secretary of State

The Colorado Secretary of State is responsible for a wide range of business functions including running fair elections, administering business registrations, licensing, and many oversight functions for Colorado government agencies among other entities. As part of the normal course of duties, Colorado government agencies collect volumes of public business and economic data. This data could help businesses with strategic planning, but it currently exists in many different places and formats making it difficult for most businesses to use. The Business Intelligence Center (BIC) focuses on streamlining access to public data by consolidating the access point and by providing resources to make the data useful.

The Problem and Solution: Increase Open Data Assets and Use through Innovative Crowd Challenge

The BIC  is working with the Governor’s Office of IT (CIO group) and all Colorado Agencies via the GoCode Colorado initiative to help increase use by citizens, industry, and government and increase quality data published by agencies. The first and only statewide effort of its kind, brings together entrepreneurs, business partners, and developers to make use of public data through a series of events.

The BIC’s Go Code Colorado challenge addresses real business decision-making problems. Furthermore, these problems are inside web or mobile applications created by Colorado’s robust technology community. To achieve success, Colorado businesses provide challenge questions—problems they would like to solve using public data. The software developer and entrepreneur communities will build applications designed to address the opportunities identified by small businesses.

Xentity has provided the support for GoCode Data and IT Project Management, ETL, Data Wrangling, and Code Reviews. Also they have helped plan, migrate, and publish well over 150 datasets and supported the program since 2013.

The Outcomes: Much more data, more use, and more OpenData possibilities

In 2013-24, at least three businesses started around apps that use this data. Also, awards have flipped traditional government procurement on its head, creating value to Colorado businesses and society. Furthermore, nearly 30 businesses including Companies like Google, Esri, SendGrid, Rally Software and Gnip (now Twitter) volunteered their time and event donations near $200,000 the first year. This is because they desire more access to government data—they know how important this is to economic development.

GoCode is the most concerted effort in the state to increase public data in adding over 150 data sets. This has increased agency participation. Also, the GoCode team supported “data wrangling” and ETL to help the “have not” agencies get their data used. The Program has been well recognized and continues to stimulate open data initiatives.