While data products or goods described in the section above are useful resources for interested stakeholders and partners, tailored services respond to the specific needs and requirements of organizations.
Tailored services include delivering customized training, responding to specific analytical or research needs of partners, or developing tailored software. These tend to be resource intensive to produce, and few data sharing initiatives within the development sector offer them to partners. Research suggests that provision of customized services is more typical in situations in which the private sector is heavily involved and/or in contexts where the data partnerships take the form of data collaboratives, as in the case of the California Data Collaborative (see below).
Within the development sector, tailored services constitute a strategy to provide value to data sharing organizations that would not otherwise benefit from the provision of data goods or other mechanisms to distribute, such as partners who are the biggest contributors in a data sharing partnership. Tailored services might incentivize these partners to remain engaged for the long term. For instance, Global Fishing Watch, conscious of the high level of resources required for governments to share their data with the platform, provides them with customized advice and addresses their specific policy questions as a way to ensure data sharing partners receive a fair return.
Provision of tailored research services
The California Data Collaborative provides a clear value proposition to all its partners, lowering the transaction costs of sharing data and reducing the cost that individual water supply agencies incur by hiring independent data talent to respond to the regulatory requirements that the State of California created in 2015. In addition to the standard data sharing and analytics services it provides, the CaDC has worked to develop software that can facilitate water data management and analysis.
CaDC is also characterized by a focus on customized research services for its partners. Partners can come to the CaDC with their own data research questions, and the CaDC team will assist them in finding the answer. For instance, one of the partners of the collaborative was debating whether to invest in storage facilities. The CaDC team looked at the water supply agency’s current water use and ran time series analyses to predict future water use before concluding that additional storage wasn’t needed. That decision saved the agency $20 million.