Socrata’s New 2014 Benchmark Report Shows Rapid and Widespread Adoption of Open Data By Governments

Press Release | Socrata | October 31, 2014

Annual Report Confirms That Open Data Will Continue to Grow in the Public Sector; 80% of Respondents Say That They Will Continue to Invest in Open Data Initiatives. Report Also Finds That Socrata Customers Outpace Other Organizations With Open Data Initiatives in Two Key Areas.

Seattle – October 31, 2014 – Socrata (, the world leader in cloud solutions for open data and data-driven government, today announced the launch of the Socrata 2014 Open Data Benchmark Report designed to measure and report public-sector use of open data in the United States.

The report reveals that an increasing number of public-sector organizations have embraced open data as a way to boost visibility into government decision-making and performance.

The report’s respondents also make it clear that open data has the potential to generate economic and social value far beyond the core benefits of transparency and accountability.

Finally, the research confirms that open data is growing quickly; that governments throughout the country have already realized the benefits of open data; and that open data is, and will be, a primary tool for governments to interact with their many stakeholders.

“This benchmark study clearly and dramatically confirms what we’ve been seeing during the past few years – open data adoption and usage is exploding in governments all over the world,” says Kevin Merritt, Founder and CEO of Socrata. “Open data has gone mainstream. It’s a viral movement that’s now unstoppable. And, as the lifeblood of connected global networks, it’s improving the lives of people on just about every continent.”

Driving Sustained Prosperity in Connected Communities

Open data is a growing industry built around the concept of collecting, organizing and publishing data to be consumed by a wide range of audiences. Making data open is the act of taking any government-collected, created or aggregated data – from government financial assets, to the number of water fountains in Manhattan, to the vast databases of the U.S. Census – and providing it to users for them to analyze and manipulate. This data can even be incorporated into derivative products and services created by the vibrant open data ecosystem.

In other words, open data makes data transparent, helps people using the data become more efficient, and sparks creativity from those employing the data for any number of uses.

“Our goal,” adds Merritt, “is to help governments, companies, entrepreneurs and app developers use the most valuable, new natural resource – government open data – to drive outcomes and impact with their constituents, and ultimately to deliver sustained prosperity everywhere.”

Indeed, a large majority of respondents in Socrata’s benchmark study say that open data has led to direct economic development; 75% have seen an increase in business formation as a result of open data initiatives; 72% have seen more jobs created; and 59% have seen higher tax revenues generated.

Opening Up a World of Data

Based on Internet interviews with 1,273 respondents – 961 of whom work in government in the United States and 312 of whom work outside of government but have an interest in using open data – the Socrata 2014 Open Data Benchmark Report offers several important findings:

  • 80% of respondents say their investment and spending on open data initiatives will be consistent or increase in the future
  • 41% of all government respondents say their goal is to make as much data open as possible, and another significant proportion – 48% – say they’re focused on opening the most important and useful data
  • 72% of respondents agree that pursuing open data initiatives needs the direction of leaders within governments
  • 83% of respondents agree that open data initiatives increase trust among constituents; and 86% of respondents agree that open data initiatives increase engagement among constituents

In addition to asking government respondents about open data, the survey asked respondents from the private sector to evaluate how important open data is to their own organizations. Virtually all (87%) of these private-sector respondents say that open data is a key component to keeping their organizations functioning.

For their part, government respondents were asked about where open data can have the biggest impact on their own efficiency and budget. Government services (where, when and how services can be accessed); government organizations’ performance (mission metrics); and financial information (government expenditures) were all top-of-mind mentions.

Government respondents were also asked to think about the benefits that open data can provide, and then rank those benefits. While some of the top mentions are related to reducing the cost of government, there is a continuing drive to “open” government via open data, either by showing what government is doing, or by letting others evaluate government performance.

The Socrata Open Data Benefit

Turning to functionality, the Socrata 2014 Open Data Benchmark Report found that Socrata customers are outpacing other organizations with open data initiatives in two key performance areas – Open Data Accessibility and Ease of Use.

  • For Open Data Accessibility, Socrata customers’ average scores are 13.6% higher than non-customers
  • For Open Data Ease of Use, Socrata customers’ average scores are 13.3% higher than non-customers

On average, when it comes to quality of open data experience, respondents from governments who are Socrata customers give higher scores than those who are not using Socrata.

Propelling the Open Data Movement Going Forward

Concludes Merritt: “As evidenced in this research, the key factors that will propel the open data movement going forward will be continued investment; making as much open data available as possible; expanding interaction between governments and their many stakeholders; increasing support from government leaders; and, of course, deep and abiding trust from citizens. Looking ahead, in order to assess this growth and development, we’ll distribute an updated version of this open data report each and every year.”

About Socrata

Socrata is the world leader in cloud solutions for open data and data-driven governments. Its innovative customers include the cities of New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Melbourne and Eindhoven; the states of New York, Illinois and Texas; US Health and Human Services; Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services; the UN and the World Bank. Socrata’s solutions – including the recently launched Open Data Network™ which unleashes the full potential of government data to help drive connected communities around the world – assist government leaders in improving transparency, modernizing citizen access to information and bringing data into every decision, all with unprecedented speed and cost savings. Delivered as turnkey services, Socrata’s technologies unlock data trapped in enterprise silos, mobilize and transform it into useful information that everyone can easily access, visualize, share and reuse. To learn more about Socrata, visit


Bill Glenn
VP of Marketing
Socrata, Inc.
[email protected]
(206) 465-3228

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