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November 19, 2015

What’s powering The Answer Company? The whole data spectrum

by Andrew Fletcher, Data Innovation Lab, Thomson Reuters

Open Data Institute Summit greeting hall

Trust is at the heart of being open

Trust is a core value for Thomson Reuters. We don’t say this just because it sounds good. It’s something that is baked deep into our culture. The Trust Principles were established in 1941 in the midst of the Second World War as an obligation for employees “to act at all times with integrity, independence and freedom from bias.”

We’ve been a member of the Open Data Institute, founded in London by Sir Tim Berners-Lee and Professor Sir Nigel Shadbolt, since 2014. Although based in the UK, the ODI has a global network, and the recent ODI Summit was attended by Canada’s Open Data Exchange (ODX), who are our neighbors in the recently established Thomson Reuters Labs – Waterloo Region.

For us at Thomson Reuters, this feels a natural fit. Trust is at the heart of being open, and we really value our partnership with the ODI, the potential to partner with ODX, and the work they are doing to champion open data, which supports our own work in this area. It’s clear that the ODI and ODX are both talking about and working across the whole data spectrum, not just open data. A quote that stuck with me from the ODI Summit was from Sir Tim Berners-Lee:

To use data powerfully, you need to be empowered by data from across the whole data spectrum. …in the future, any application you use should be running across the whole spectrum.


Why would you make data open?

For a commercial organization like Thomson Reuters, there is value to be gained in opening up our data where it makes sense for our customers and for our business model. The open data community, and Generation Open, expect us to do the right thing, but they expect this to be authentic, and respect us for it as a result.

Why would a company like Thomson Reuters make its data open? It all comes back to building trust. It makes sense for our customers and it also provides value back to the open community that they can re-use, including commercially. It also drives opportunities, for example our partnership with Crowdnetic to increase transparency in the  crowdfunding market. Our first start-up partnership in Waterloo Region  is on open data, with ThinkData Works.

For background:

Answers

Open data is part of a broader approach to being open at Thomson Reuters. Generation Open already expects an open approach that carries through into how they work: data, technology, and community. In June we launched open source market data APIs, and last month we launched App Studio in Eikon, which allows third parties to build their own apps within our Eikon desktop platform. Our instant messaging tool for the financial markets, Eikon Messenger, has always been open, connecting to other messaging platforms and so providing the financial community with the most efficient way of building the contacts they need to do business.

Given the focus on trust we place at the core of our business, we believe that an open approach is what you’d expect from Thomson Reuters. It’s one that will be universally expected, needed, and the new normal in the future. As The Answer Company, we already know that data on its own is not enough. The ODI has published work on Data as Infrastructure and I like this quote by CEO Gavin Starks: “Data helps us navigate to a decision.” The Answer Company, working through an open approach with our partners, is powered across the whole data spectrum.

*Images courtesy of The Open Data Institute