Socrata, a Seattle-based cloud software company focused exclusively on democratizing access to government data, today announced a strategic partnership with the National League of Cities (NLC).
In partnership, Socrata and NLC will work closely with cities of all sizes, locally and globally, to develop solutions that will help address some of the most critical imperatives facing cities today including: fragile fiscal health, deteriorating transportation infrastructure and the need for affordable housing.
“Joining forces with the National League of Cities will help propel the open data movement forward,” says Kevin Merritt, Founder and CEO of Socrata. “But this partnership will also support and assist cities as they begin to address some of their most critical imperatives – from fiscal stability and viability, to aging transportation systems, to inadequate access to safe and affordable housing. There’s little doubt that, when deployed effectively and broadly, open data can help cities roll up their sleeves and tackle these important societal issues in a substantive and meaningful way.”
Adds Clarence E. Anthony, NLC’s CEO and Executive Director: “We believe that the adoption and distribution of open data can help government become an innovation accelerator. We want our members to have the opportunity to leverage open data to better manage city services, and our partnership with Socrata will definitely help them in this regard.”
Standardizing and Benchmarking Operational Performance Data in Cities
Socrata will also work with NLC to support the organization’s efforts to standardize and benchmark operational performance data across cities and its membership base. Utilizing the Socrata Open Data Platform, Socrata will train and support NLC staff when it comes to accessing and analyzing open data information and technologies. NLC will additionally serve as a launch partner for the financial suite of the Socrata-led ecosystem initiative, the Open Data NetworkTM. As part of this effort, NLC and Socrata will work with an industry consortium to help define open data standards for the categories of budget data and expenditure data.
Helping Government to Accelerate Innovation in the 21st Century
The alliance between Socrata and NLC comes at a time when a new – and emerging – 21st century government reality is taking hold. This reality is based on the fact that governments around the world are currently sitting on massive treasure troves of raw data. When this under-valued and under-appreciated raw data is unlocked and turned into open data, however, citizens, civic developers, companies and communities can harness and deploy it for deep and sweeping insights that can improve health, education, transportation and public safety, for example.
So, thanks to the rapidly expanding open data movement, public sector organizations on virtually every continent now have the opportunity to become just as innovative – if not more innovative – than even the most cutting-edge private-sector enterprises.
The net result here will be governments at the state, local and national levels incubating, accelerating and facilitating a steady stream of new ideas, programs and initiatives for the citizens and businesses they serve.