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Open data: the new frontier of integration

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Open data: the new frontier of integration 

Thu July 23, 2020 11:22 AM

The status quo

I started working in IT because I loved the idea of creating innovative solutions by assembling the capabilities provided, over the public internet, by multiple organisations. I have to admit that for many years this vision has struggled to come to life.
The key roadblocks have not been technical. They are rooted in business models and legal frameworks. Enterprises have always been protective of their data as a source of competitive advantage. The digital economy has then exploded in the context of outdated legal frameworks that use price levels as the main measure of “consumer welfare” (see Ref [1]). This has contributed to the success of a few mega-platforms offering their services for free and competing for dominance in the acquisition of personal data, a key source of revenue.

A new world

Public policies are finally catching up with technology. The rules governing individual rights, privacy, and security are changing across the world. In particular, there are a couple of European regulations that are leading the way in shaping the future of the digital ecosystem.

  • The Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) has strengthened existing individual rights over personal data and introduced new ones, including the right to data portability. This gives you the right of getting hold of data held about you by an organisation or, crucially, send them to another company, which might be a competitor.
  • The Second Payment Services Directive (PSD2) is aimed at lowering financial transaction costs and promoting innovation. It forces banks to “open up” their systems, enabling third parties to retrieve account information and initiate payments on behalf of the end customer. These regulations have plenty of limitations. However, they are a significant milestone in empowering the end customer as the owner of her data and moving the balance of power from large enterprises to the end users, unlocking opportunities for creating new value.

The role of IT integration

We are moving towards open information systems, in which data is shared between organisations to produce the best value for the end customer. It is an IT integration dream, and nightmare. You have great opportunities for rapid innovation, as well as enormous security and privacy risks. You can find below the first of a series of posts on “open data integration” in which we explore challenges and solution patterns for these emerging integration scenarios. To provide real-world implementation examples, we’ll start by focusing on the domain of open banking (see Ref [2]). The financial services industry is indeed leading the adoption of open API. It is very likely that the lessons we are learning in this field will be used to tackle the problems of security, customer consent, and interface standardisation across other domains too.

Use cases, patterns, and implementations

Get in touch

If you want to discuss any of these use cases further, or suggest additional scenarios leveraging open data, please get in touch at cmarcoli@uk.ibm.com.


References

[1] Antitrust in America is an NPR podcast series covering the historical evolution of antitrust laws
[2] Read Open banking APIs are open for business for an introduction to open banking

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