COM³ has developed a training solution that raises awareness about the potential of open data for employees and developers in communities and regions. The training module provides suggestions and recommendations on how to approach working with data together with and for companies.
Recently, big data has drawn a lot of attention, also by municipalities. There is enormous potential with all the open data already available and the data which could still be harvested. Local economic actors can benefit greatly from access to relevant, high-quality data. Public agencies can support these developments by setting up so-called data platforms, which can be of great importance for local economic development. But there are also obstacles to the successful implementation of the platforms that need to be overcome.
Big data can be very abstract and therefore difficult to identify what can be done with it, especially since it provides an abundance of information. To turn it into value, data needs to be gathered, processed and made available to internal and external potential users in order for them to analyze it and base decision-making off of it. Working with data can be very time- and labour-intensive, at least in the first place. While more and more data processing tools are available, these first have to be adopted and many organizations face barriers to efficiently identifying, analyzing, sharing and exploiting data. Contractual complexities and legislations, and privacy and ethical challenges can be a big issue when thematizing big data. Moreover, digital literacy skills and skills of end users can be a problem. Additionally, they have to deal with challenges while transforming data into value
The barriers to setting up a public data platform are manifold.Overcoming them therefore requires digital skills, data management is key and roles must be clearly defined. Regardless of these hurdles, open data yields enormous potential for local economic actors. In addition to the cost savings of open data, it can help generate social and economic benefits and organizations will be able to operate more efficiently and effectively. Public authorities should support these developments and establish data platforms.
For this reason, training and skills enhancement are recommended! Public sector staff and developers should learn about the potential of data utilisation and get an overview of the policies and administrative structures in which public data platforms operate in the European Union and how to overcome possible hurdles.
Besides this training solution, COM³ partners produce a series of e-learning modules that encourage staff and developers in municipalities, regions, and business support organisations in building a rural digital entrepreneurial ecosystem:
- Fostering the Digital Transformation of SMEs in Rural Areas – an Introduction
- Cybersecurity Readiness through Honeypots
- Understanding and Analyzing Cyber Threats
These and other training modules can be found on the learning platform ruraldigital.eu, developed by the two Interreg North Sea Region projects COM³ and CORA. With this platform, both projects address the most pressing challenges to overcome the digital divide in rural areas and offer training solutions that enable everyone – citizens, small businesses, and administrations – to acquire the necessary digital skills.