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Xero praises power of Big Data as doors open for business...

01 Aug 2014

Kiwi software accounting firm Xero welcomes the New Zealand Data Futures Forum final report – Harnessing the economic and social power of data – released earlier this week.

According to NZ MD Victoria Crone, this is a “good example of the public and private sectors collaborating to deliver positive change and sets out ambitious recommendations to derive value from New Zealand data.”

“Data has the potential to be an incredibly valuable resource for all New Zealander,” writes Crone, via the company’s official blog.

“It’s great to see the Government is focussing efforts in this area and that feedback from the private sector has been taken on board in this third paper.

“We’re now in the third generation of the internet revolution which is all about big data. This data must be managed in an ethical manner and in a way that creates value and instills trust.”

Crone believes there are “so many possibilities” when it comes to open data and its innovation potential to address business, social, environmental and community issues.

“Already, globally we are seeing great potential for data to play a role in emergency management, weather patterns, tourism, geographic segmentation and customer trends – just to name a few,” she adds.

“The opening up of London’s transport data through the London DataStore has been a good example that has seen many innovative uses developed.”

Crone believes three out of the four foundations that underpin the report’s recommendations specifically place individuals and their comfort at the forefront.

As a result, she says this indicates the Data Futures Forum has “really listened to people’s concerns” and that it is likely there will be a lot of opportunity for people to have ongoing input and feedback to ensure those foundations are upheld.

“Here in New Zealand we have an opportunity to develop a competitive advantage through a data-sharing ecosystem built on trust, control and inclusion,” Crone adds.

“The opening up of a data-sharing ecosystem has vast potential for small businesses, in terms of driving top-line growth and productivity.

“There is much value to be gained using data to analyse trends such as customer numbers, purchase behaviour and target markets.”

Crone also thinks the report’s recommendation for an Independent Data Council will help drive open data across all sectors – not just government.

And, echoing CEO Rod Drury’s belief, Crone suggests that a Chief Technology Officer could also be the “champion on the Council and drive the data agenda from a technology perspective.”

Lillian Grace, CEO Wiki New Zealand, also says the key recommendations were definitely a step in the right direction.

“We are moving into uncharted territory with data and it is too early to draw a ring-fence around what is correct use and what is not, without risking stifling innovation,” she adds.

“The Forum’s recommendation for an Independent Data Council that would be able to monitor, learn and adapt as we reach a social consensus on data use is especially valuable.

“It is an exciting time for data-driven innovation in New Zealand. There are many great efforts already underway and there is a strong willingness to collaborate throughout New Zealand’s data ecosystem.”