Over the past few years, the numbers are rapidly growing and encouraging for any data initiative, which has directly impacted the increasing percentage of data portals usage. But wait, what is a data portal?

A data portal is an online platform which supports users in accessing collections of data. Typical data portals present the data of the organisation which hosts the portal.

Data portals are designed to save time — all the time it takes us to find and understand data and turn it into action. In order to remain relevant, a data portal needs to be maintained and upgraded regularly. Data portals are most commonly used to make data-driven decisions. Their design is intended to support users in their search and exploring data.

Their purpose is to solve the problem businesses are facing and provide long-term sustainability, while providing remote access to data repositories for discovery and distribution of reference data, upload of new data for analysis or integration, and data sharing for collaborative analysis.

Let’s take a closer look into specifics. What do we get from data portals?

Data access

The easiest way to remotely access the required data is through a data portal. The commodity to have access anytime, anywhere facilitates the process and accelerates the success of any project, company or organisation. At a glance, data portals represent a strong library of datasets available worldwide.

Additionally, data owners can control who has access to their data, protect it and provide data management roles to their team, in order to enforce corporate security policies if needed. All data can be hosted on one central platform and, with direct management by the data owners, it can even allow the users to access real-time data.

An excellent user experience

Data portals follow a user-centred approach while focusing to better understand users` needs as well as providing fast and modern navigation. Therefore, upload and download of data will take just a few moments, while analysis and segmentation of data can be adapted according to the business purpose.

Another great UX tool is the preview of graphs and charts on a certain dataset resource, which can help the user better understand the data.

Relevant and structured data

In its core, the idea of a data portal is to provide relevant and structured data, which can be easily accessed online. The organization of data into groups, organisations and collections of datasets provides a detailed and structured approach to data, that improves analysis and visualization of data. Instead of taking care and preparing strategies to manage data, the structured data can be easily integrated into a database, from there, analysed and visualized in order to support any research, decision-making process or strategic planning.

In a world where data is one of the most valuable assets across many different industries, data portals provide us with a structured way to use those assets. Executives focus on data management as a component of a long-term business strategy to streamline processes, get better business intelligence and generally improve the business model.

How can you create a data portal?

There are different methods and products that companies or organisations can use to create their data portal. One of the prefered ones is CKAN. The Comprehensive Knowledge Archive Network (CKAN) is the world’s leading open source data management system, a powerful data portal platform used widely by governments, research institutions and other organizations that collect lots of data and want to make their data accessible and available to others, whether internally to their employees or openly to the general public.

Simply put, CKAN is a fully-featured software solution for creating data portal websites and it provides tools making it easy to publish, share and use data. It is actively used by over 350 global, national, regional and local governments and institutions.

Keitaro is a key player and contributor continuously developing and maintaining CKAN’s core technology. CKAN is modified and extended by an even larger community of developers who contribute to a growing library of CKAN extensions. This community support for CKAN ensures long-term viability and higher quality software always on the cutting-edge of technology, and no vendor dependence.

As one of the original developers of CKAN, we have been delivering data publishing, management and discovery solutions for over a decade. After years of working on different CKAN projects, we decided to use our experience and expertise to create Amplus, a solution that will embrace CKAN in its core, and will make creating a data portal even faster and easier. With Amplus, our clients get all the benefits of CKAN in a fully managed Software as a Service, without worrying about development, hosting or maintenance. As an internal project with a year-round dedicated team, Amplus is always up to date with the latest updates, security patches, and version releases.

Final thoughts

Data portals are empowering every individual or organisation to easily understand their needs, their skills, and the barriers that currently stop them from accessing and using data. Armed with this knowledge, individuals, businesses and organisations are encouraged to change the world and do it faster and with greater accuracy.

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