Digital Business – Your Idea and Somebody Else’s Data!

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The data you need is out there

I’ve often in my work referred to the big opportunity with digital business as mainly our ability to reach a mass market only a click away. That is one part of the story. Another important ingredient is the era of the open data we live in. Many organizations have come to realize that they need to make data available to stay relevant. This is what is commonly known as open APIs. The data can be retrieved via open interfaces. In some cases, the availability of data is even prescribed by law. This is a great opportunity both for organizations and for you as an individual. Many ideas we get about improving services or society have a data component in them. There is a chance that the data you need for your idea is already publically available. The trick is to turn this open information into services so valuable that people would like to pay for them.

There are data available from government agencies, large corporations and even banks that you can use for free. There are sometimes restrictions of what you might do with the data and you might also have an option to purchase data for business use that you could consider.

I think that Uber is such good example of this. Probably many people have had the thought before. Why don’t people drive each other when convenient? But the trouble of making this easy seemed just too great to get going with the idea. Uber has over the years used many APIs to make their services work. They use Google Map’s API for GPS to locate cars and clients. Uber has also used Twilio API for SMS notifications, and the SendGrid API for automating email campaigns. If they had to develop all this themselves the service they provide would probably never have started.

The main point is that there are so many possibilities out there. Sometimes the obstacles we perceive are not even there anymore! Don’t kill your ideas too soon, keep them alive and get more information. Maybe they are easier to create than you think!

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