Asedie: “Infoempresa collaborates with us to open new public data bases”.

Dec 2, 2020

When we talk about technology, we talk about data; and when we talk about data we talk about big data and open data. Today we are going to dedicate our post to interview Olga Quirós, General Secretary of ASEDIE and specialist in Open Data at an international level.

ASEDIE represents infomediary companies, those companies that reuse information and have, as their main objective, the analysis and treatment of public and/or private sector information to create value-added products for third-party companies or citizens in general.

 How is Spain performing in terms of Open Data?

Regarding Open Data in Europe, Spain can be seen at the top of the European countries ranking. According to the “Open Data Maturity Report 2019” prepared by the European Data Portal, Spain occupies the second position, within the so-called group of “Trend Setters” along with Ireland and France. As specified in the report, which measures the development achieved in the European open data field, the average open data maturity in the European Union is 66%. In reference to Spain, the score obtained was 90%, three points more than in 2018 and well above the European average. Only Ireland, with 91%, is ahead of Spain.

Despite the progress made, we continue to encounter the same challenges when it comes to accessing information. Sometimes the information is still not easily accessible or continues to be out of date. There is still a lack of knowledge about the Sector and the benefits it brings to society, there is no consolidated “data culture”. When speaking of challenges, one cannot fail to mention the vast barrier posed by the different regulations when accessing information, which sometimes imply restrictions to the access or even literally prohibit its reuse.

When it comes to Open Data, what does data processing contribute to the economy?

If we consider Open Data, as it should be, not only as a concept but in everything that it entails, its opening, treatment and reuse; it has a boundless impact on the economy: providing transparency and security in business transactions and allowing for easier and faster access to large volumes of information, hence helping to improve the decision-making process.

In studies carried out by the European Union (The Economic Impact of Open Data: Opportunities for value creation in Europe) it is estimated that the size of the Union’s open data market, in a conservative growth scenario, will reach 199.51B€ by 2025, whereas optimistically it could reach 334.21B€. Concerning employment levels, more and more people are working directly or indirectly in positions related to the open data movement.

It should be noted that the value created by open data is not limited exclusively to economic benefits. Open data not only helps companies and public administrations to generate more income from the creation of new services and to reduce costs, thanks to greater work efficiency, but it also helps and adds value in many social areas. A clear example of open data’s social impact, that we are constantly seeing, is the data related to the COVID 19 pandemic. Data that has been demanded for months by the Sector and by citizens to be able to have a clear picture of the current business landscape and the spread of the virus.

What is ASEDIE’s principal objective?

In Asedie we carry out the task of promoting the Infomediary Sector, while at the same time raising awareness in society of the benefits of the Sector. As an Association, ASEDIE brings together infomediary organizations and companies from different sectors (Commercial information, Electronic information, Credit bureaus and Information technologies), that use, reuse and distribute information, creating added value products that contribute to giving greater security to global commercial traffic, fighting, among others, against fraud and money laundering.

We believe that in order to know the real size of a sector and its economic value it is necessary to translate indicators, such as turnover, jobs and of course its evolution, into figures. With this objective, each year, we prepare the Infomediary Sector Report. This task of promoting and giving exposure to the Sector is also carried out through our annual International Conference on Public Sector Information Reuse, where speakers from the information ecosystem at national and international level participate and which has become a forum for debate and analysis discussing the advances, challenges and future prospects of the Sector.

Likewise, in Asedie we study and analyse the topics of interest to our associates, trying to respond to their needs, transferring their interests and therefore those of the Sector to different Public Bodies and Institutions, while working jointly with the Public Sector to achieve the opening and access of public information, so that it can be reused and downloaded in various formats.

In Asedie we believe that collaboration not only at the public-private level is extremely important, but also at the public-public level. For our part, we have been collaborating with the Administration for years, developing measures that serve as examples and guides to promote transparency and the opening and access to data. To translate this collaboration with the Public Sector in the most transparent way possible, last year we began to work on our General Action Protocols and Collaboration Agreements with different institutions.

What is the role of the infomediary sector and how does it contribute to economic development?

Over the last eight years in Asedie we have annually analysed the value and size of the Infomediary Sector. In this year’s report, 764 Infomediary companies were analysed with a sales volume of €2,045M. In terms of employment levels, the Infomediary Sector in 2018 had 22,790 employees, 3% more than it had in 2017. It is important to point out that our report is elaborated with the most up to date information publicly available at the time, but it needs to be taken into consideration that some of the financial data corresponds to information presented over a year ago.

Putting these figures aside, we believe that the recognition of the Infomediary Sector as a horizontal or transversal Sector is crucial, because many other sectors make use of it. Therefore, it has a direct impact on their development and decision making. It is a sector influencing other industries and has a fundamental role in the economic development.

We are not aware of another report similar to ours in other European countries, but we do know that our report is used as an example by the European Commission, as it would be interesting for organizations, from other member states, to prepare something similar so that comparisons could be made.

What value do associates like give to the Association?

In Asedie all our associates are considered to be an important and key part of the Association, Our Sector is constantly changing with new technologies and transforming to meet the expectations of the rapidly growing society that we live in. We have the security of knowing that our associates are “healthy” companies that comply with the corresponding regulations. All our associated companies adhere to the Association’s Code of Good Practices.

Each of our associated companies have the opportunity to actively participate in our working commissions (Legal commission, Information Sources Commission, Marketing Commission…). Through this way of operating, we as an association can really tackle the common barriers that the Sector faces, in the Information Sources Commission for example, where Infoempresa collaborates in the promotion of the infomediary sector and the opening of new sources of public data, our associates help to identify and study datasets of interest and analyse the existing ones, allowing the association to give constructive feedback to the Public Sector. All the commissions not only foster a space to collaborate but also allow for transparency where our members work together to reach common goals through the Association. This is essential for Asedie as it permits us to be agile and fully focused on the continual changes of the Sector.

Another way that Infoempresa aids in the Associations journey is with their success story, which all our associates have the chance to participate in, these cases meet the demand of the Public Sector and serve as clear examples of how value-added products or services are created thanks to the reuse of Public Sector information, supporting and validating the principal need of the Sector; gaining access to reliable, actualised and complete datasets held by public institutions, that directly impacts the economy.

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