I’ve seen that every day we have more and more access to useful data through open API’s and we can study the behavior of our target audience or customers with great detail and with that make adjustments to our business strategy to improve our results and maybe gain efficiency in the process.

But we all know that most people don’t have the skills to use this information (make and automate requests) and only the big players are using this information wisely.

A good example is the information on public purchases, were there are many small business trying to sell products and services to the government, but almost completely blind or with a slow reaction to what they competitors are doing, despite the fact that all those transactions are totally open for us to analize. In concrete I’m tacking about this API.

The possibilities are endless and once you show some results to the manager things start to change and the nerd programmer starts to play a relevant roll in medium size and small business. The same happens in big companies where most units function as a small organization without an exclusive IT department and those who know how to program a computer became the office super-hero.

In reality most most business engineers just use Excell and maybe Access, but very few go further. So this is our chance to shine, but there is a catch. Most developers don’t get involve in business strategy and are more advocate to other areas like Social Networks, Games, or learning the latest frameworks. In my opinion, as with TDD we should use the minimum amount of code to pass the test, well in business we should use the minimum amount of technology to add real (measurable) value.

Here is the Ruby wrapper that I made on top of the API. With it I was able to solve some useful questions that every provider would like to know and keep track of. Here some examples:

  • Who is the person that place more purchase orders by number and net_total?
  • What are the top ten products purchased buy any public entity?
  • What are my competitors selling and to whom?
  • Do they purchase something that I sold at a better price? Who? When?

And the list can keep going. So go ahead and spread the news.