Enhancing regional capabilities: The open bydata competence centre in Bavaria | data.europa.eu
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Enhancing regional capabilities: The open bydata competence centre in Bavaria

Insights into the strategy of Bavaria’s new open data team

At data.europa.eu, we focus on multiple dimensions of data, including how regional and national data portals contribute to Europe’s digital strategy and the transition to a data-driven society. Today, we will take a look at a real use case: the new open bydata competence centre (oc.bydata) in Bavaria, an initiative dedicated to enhancing the accessibility, usability and integration of open data. For insights from our previous exploration of the respective open.bydata portal in Bavaria, visit our earlier story here. 

We interviewed the team behind oc.bydata and specifically Mr Luis Moßburger, the Product Owner at the Bavarian Digital Agency ‘byte’, home to the competence centre. We discussed the team’s support for ministries, public agencies and small cities and regions embarking on their open data journey and gained insights into how the team operates behind the scenes. 


Q: What is the mission of the new open bydata competence centre? 

A: Our newly formed competence centre is central to our mission of enhancing the way data is utilised across the public sector in Bavaria. We’re focusing on three strategic objectives. 

First, we are enhancing data competency within Bavarian public administration to help it effectively publish, manage and utilise open data. This involves providing extensive training materials, consultancy services and practical support. This includes five bookable consultancy modules and the ‘open data presences’, free-of-charge and individualised subareas of our portal of data providers; mini open data portals, so to speak. 

Second, we are pushing the envelope on technological innovation by developing advanced tools for better data integration and usage. Besides the data portal and open data presences, this includes experimentation with automatic quality optimisation of metadata, data visualisation and more – and, of course, we share what we do as open-source solutions. 

Third, we are cultivating a robust network with open data communities to foster collaboration that translates data into actionable insights and community benefits. A key example is our new Open Data Roundtable, a regular networking event with administrations, along with civil society, economists and scientists. In general, we want to be an active centre of the open data network in Bavaria and create success stories together. 


Q: Who are the members of your team, and what unique perspectives do they bring? 

A: Our team comprises four core members, each bringing a unique set of skills necessary for a multifaceted approach to data management. Our information manager focuses on improving the quality and accessibility of data. Our data customer relations manager helps onboard new data providers and assists in the transition to open data formats. The data community manager engages with users and community stakeholders to facilitate the practical use of our data. As the product owner, I oversee the technical infrastructure and strategic direction of the competence centre. Importantly, three of the four core members have a background in library and information science, which is an excellent skill set for the job: data management combined with information literacy and a commitment to openness. 

Additionally, as oc.bydata is part of the Bavarian Agency for Digital Affairs, we can leverage its matrix structure to temporarily include project managers, user experience designers, data scientists or cloud engineers on the team as needed. 



Q: What impact do you expect the competence centre to have on Bavaria’s approach to data? 

A: So far, we have collected over 5 000 datasets from more than 75 data providers, ranging from government bodies to universities to small cities. This is quite impressive, considering that the open.bydata portal was only launched in September 2023. 

A key reason for this success is our team’s active engagement and our ability to address many questions relating to open data, for instance, through our handout on the high-value datasets directive and its implementation in Bavaria. 

I believe that the competence centre will play a crucial role in our progress. In the coming months, we expect significant developments in Bavaria’s open data networks. We highly value the connections between data providers, enabling them to support one another, spark new ideas and create partnerships. This was boosted by our ‘speed dating’ event at the Open Data Day in Munich on 4 May 2024, followed by the establishment of the previously mentioned roundtable. 


Q: How did you introduce the competence centre to the public? 

A: We were convinced that the ideal occasion to introduce the competence centre was during the Open Data Day, held on 4 May 2024 in Bavaria. This event embodies what oc.bydata aims to achieve: bringing together a diverse range of communities involved with open data and providing a platform for them to connect. At the Open Data Day, which we organised with the city of Munich and the Open Knowledge Lab Munich, we featured a wide array of activities, including workshops, coding sessions and discussions on various topics such as open data start-ups, managing sensitive health data, training large language models with open data and learning from the culture hackathon ‘Coding da Vinci’. The competence centre needs to be central in such events and networks to be effective. We also maintain active social media accounts on LinkedIn and Mastodon and showcase our work and that of others at oc.bydata.de. 


Q: What are your plans for the open bydata competence centre? 

A: Moving forward, we aim to further enhance the functionality and user-friendliness of the open.bydata portal. Our ongoing projects and experiments are set to further refine our approach and expand our reach. 

Besides consistently promoting and engaging more data providers and increasing the visibility of the open.bydata portal to potential data users, we have several initiatives underway. 

One is the (semi)automatic optimisation of metadata quality. Our aim is to improve descriptions where possible, for instance, if the format of a distribution is specified but the media type is not (yet can be automatically retrieved). 

Another project is the second version of our open data presences. These will feature a more professional design, branding them as standalone pages rather than just subareas of our portal, and include new content like engaging data visualisations of cities. 

Lastly, we have developed a concept for a data entry form designed to be as simple as booking a hotel. We believe that adding data should be straightforward; open data should not be a burden. The prototype received positive feedback in user testing and is now being implemented. 

Before closing, I would like to invite readers interested in learning more about our initiatives to contact us at oc@bydata.de or provide feedback at https://oc.bydata.de. 


Concluding remarks 

We hope this case study has offered interesting ideas and inspiration to other regional authorities planning their open data initiatives. 

At data.europa.eu, we continue to observe and report on innovative data initiatives across Europe, including efforts like the open bydata competence centre in Bavaria, as part of our broader mission to understand and share developments in data-driven practices.