The expectation that governments should provide the public access to Open Data is relatively recent. Because the government is an extension of and in service to our communities, there's been a movement to ensure that as much of the information gathered by government is publicly available.

The growth of the internet and the ease of making large amounts of data available, as well as policy leadership from the Obama administration's Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government created the expectation that public data be available at the Federal, state, and local levels.

However many small and medium sized governments don't have the time or the technical capacity to support stand-alone open data portals. That's why we created the Stats section of the Start page of every ClearForms workflow.

Because ClearForms collects data in a systematic, machine-readable format, it's easy for our software to also display that data publicly. We believe that the public should be able to access as much of the data about and in workflows as possible (while also protecting privacy where appropriate). That's why we let each government decide, for each field, whether or not that information should be included in Open Data and be visible on the stats page.

Here's an example of the Stats page format:

CityGrows fictitious statistics page on workflow

At the top there's data about the number of processes completed, the average time to complete the workflow, and how many have been launched/ halted/ completed. Then there's a chart that shows the distribution of launches over time.

Below that there's a data visualizer, with visualizations based on field type. For example, multiple choice fields are visualized as pie charts, and address data appears on a map.  To the right, there are links to click into individual processes.

And if it's been activated for the specific workflow, there's a tab option for Public Data Search to allow people to explore the data and find something specific. If you select an individual workflow, either by searching or selecting it from the Activity section, you're taken to an Activity Detail page for each process. Again, the data that appears is governed by which fields are set to Open Data by the workflow administrator.

CityGrows fictitious applicant business information

We hope more government technology companies incorporate "open by default" data into their software.

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