How to Guides

How to Use Open Data in any Business

Clifford McDowell

This guide is a practical and hands-on walkthrough of how you can integrate Open Data into any data-driven process or product using Doorda’s unique Open Data API and hosted datasets.

What is Open Data?

Open Data in the context of UK business is the highly accurate, deep and complex data published by the UK government and its related departments, produced en mass by thousands of different departments, local authorities, and Quasi-Governmental bodies.

Simply, open data is the best source of RAW and publicly accessible information available to private companies today. Doorda is the only way to easily access that data at scale as a single clean, joined data source.

This guide will show you how you can integrate Open Data into your business today.

We will split the guide into three sections:

  1. Enriching existing dataset with Open Data
  2. Adding Open Data to your product offering
  3. Using open data for ad-hoc and bespoke analysis

Enriching existing dataset with Open Data

Expanding your own dataset to include open data is easier than ever. Every company’s database structure and tech stack is different but this guide will show you a set of core principles that will make integrating open data directly into your data stack swift and painless.

In this example, we will assume you want data to use in building a financial risk model.

  • Explore Doorda’s data datasets, to find useful data points (we’re happy to give you a tour of the data available)
  • Get an account and decide how you would like to integrate our data (hosted vs API)
  • Map our data to your existing database using an address, company number or postcode
  • Authenticate and Extract the Data Using Doorda’s hosted SQL platform
  • Check, Match, and append our data to yours
  • Optimise Queries, Schedule Refresh, and automate updates

Where possible we encourage companies to build a proof of value project. Where companies are using data-driven models to drive predictions and actions, they can plug the Open Data from Doorda and directly compare how our data would have performed in comparison to existing suppliers.

Great examples of this include adding accurate and more in-depth risk data to insurance models to improve predictions and outcomes.

Adding Dynamic Open Data to your Product Offering

If you have a product that consumes data, re-purposes it as part of an app, or just directly resells the data you have a range of options available to you. Depending on your requirements you may wish to use our API for Open Data to make data requests ad-hoc to services your customer’s need.

How do you integrate Open Data into a product via API?

  • Explore the catalogue of data available to you
  • decide what your customers would value
  • Design your UX and data flow
  • Estimate usage and calculate your costs and limits
  • Get API access for the products which interest you
  • Download the SDK for the language of your choice
  • Build an authentication script
  • Build your requests
  • Test your app
  • Optimise Queries

A good example is Open Data for CRM lead enrichment:

When a record is created in a Sales CRM, its good practice to look up all the information you have about that record, whether it be a person, a location, a property, company or even a government contract. The more your team know the better they can perform.

By adding active API lookups for fresh open data about entities in your CRM you can maximise the impact of CRM, while keeping costs down and always having the very latest information at your fingertips.

A great example we would love to see in the wild would be a CRM lookup which checks any leads names against a database of UK business directors, and when a match is found the CRM would flag the account if:

  • Which companies the person is a director of – and who are the directors of those companies
  • Which government contracts the company has won or lost
  • If that company is involved in any tribunals or had HSE issues
  • Which properties that business owns along with regulatory inspections

As a business, you can choose to provide very broad information to your users for analysis, or very specific data for actions to be taken on. We can help you see all the data available, and you make the magic happen.

Using open data for ad-hoc and bespoke analysis

Lastly but most importantly this guide will talk you through, how to use open data for ad-hoc analysis.

Often times you want to do a single analysis, or need to quickly find an answer to a data question, but when data gets complex and when traversing massive amounts of data a solution like doorda’s hosted data platform can make life much easier for your data scientists and analysts. So here is how to set up and use an ad-hoc database for easy querying.

  1. Get an account
  2. Connect your preferred application, Python, Tableau, R etc…
  3. Choose the datasets you want to use
  4. Analyse
  5. Visualise and present results

SUMMARY

We hope this guide has given you a practical insight into how you can integrate open data into your business, products and analytics. we pride ourselves on being a creative and collaborative data partner and we will go above and beyond to help you explore which parts of open data, you can use to improve your business whether its improving credit/risk score models or finding more customers.

If you want to explore how open data can help you visit  doorda.com, or get in touch with our team to see our data catalogue. New datasets are added to our products monthly, so we recommend you follow our updates to make sure you’re making the most of our growing open data inventory.

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