Open Gov’s CEO Zac Bookman shares how OpenGov the company’s new open data solution will impact public administration – including how governments engage with citizens such as civic developers.
Give us the OpenGov elevator pitch.
OpenGov is the world’s first complete, integrated cloud solution for public sector budgeting, reporting and open data.
What problem(s) does OpenGov solve for government or residents/citizens?
At OpenGov, we help agencies, cities and counties build more efficient and transparent government by transforming three key areas:
Budgeting and strategic planning require coordination, data and buy-in. OpenGov helps agencies understand trends with multi-year insights into expenses and revenues, build budgets in a smart and streamlined manner using a single platform, and explain the budget’s goals and tradeoffs to stakeholders in real-time.
To operate effectively, governments must adhere to strict budget constraints. OpenGov helps them do so by comparing expenditures and revenues by department and across funds, so governments can make data-driven adjustments to the budget as necessary. We also provide the tools to explore and analyze nonfinancial performance metrics such as 311 calls and police response times.
Informed elected officials and citizens
OpenGov builds trust between governments and citizens and lets elected officials monitor agencies’ performance. We do this by providing residents with quick answers to their questions, empowering journalists with instant access to the data they need to tell accurate stories, and eliminating ambiguity around things like wages and funding by providing accurate financial information.
What’s the story behind OpenGov’s new open data solution?
Earlier this year, we acquired Ontodia, the leading provider of open data. Ontodia runs on the popular open source open data tool, CKAN. Thanks to this acquisition, we have been able to develop a first-of-its-kind tool called OpenGov Open Data, which integrates with the rest of our smart government platform. The tool is designed to work for governments of all sizes.
Open Data lets governments connect budget and performance data with census data, FBI crime data and financial data from over 3,000 counties and 36,000 cities. It simplifies the ability to collaborate with other governments and agencies and allows elected officials to access performance in real-time.
It is also designed to helps residents, businesses and journalists easily access information they need, increasing public trust and facilitating civic action.
Is OpenGov Open Data up and running?
Yes. At the 2016 Code for America Summit, we announced Denton, Texas, as the first city in the country to fully implement the OpenGov Open Data solution since the acquisition and that Maricopa County, Arizona, will be launching the OpenGov Open Data platform for its more than four million residents early next year.
The Dallas-Fort Worth suburb, Denton with a population just over 100,000 – had previously released its data in PDFs and other formats that were hard to read and repurpose. As a result, the city’s tech community could not build applications; residents could not easily access a central location to search for data; and potential businesses could not quickly assess Denton’s economic condition.
Our open data experts have worked closely with Denton city officials to upload numerous datasets that span a wide array of metrics to its data portal. Today, the city empowers residents and businesses with 71 machine-readable datasets that range from the city’s demographic indicators to its upcoming building projects.
Denton is leading the way in embracing the power of technology to improve our cities, and we look forward to working with more cities across the country to make governments more transparent, accessible and efficient.
Why is open source important for open data portals?
Open Data at its core is meant to be open. It is the public’s data.
If you use a proprietary platform you are locked into certain APIs. This limits the ability for the data to work with outside apps, websites and other systems and, therefore, limits the ecosystem that can use this data for a myriad of purposes
What makes OpenGov different than other companies?
We have designed our tools to work for governments of all sizes, from small towns to major metropolises. While other tech companies have chosen to focus exclusively on large-scale projects, OpenGov recognises that all governments – both big and small – can benefit from greater collaboration, transparency, and innovation.