Web development

How Link Digital left web development behind to drive data growth

Making its mark as a web development company based in Canberra in 2001, Link Digital started moving towards open data services about five years ago, based on CKAN, Drupal and Amazon Web Services (AWS).

This soon led to pick up the contract work for data.gov.au and a similar job in other jurisdictions.

Link Digital took this opportunity after getting involved in the early stages of the GovHack restart in 2012.

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From the migration of data.gov.au from WordPress to CKAN, the company has increased the platform from approximately 3000 datasets to nearly 30,000, and along the way has worked with a variety of government agencies to help achieve their data initiatives open

“We are creating more than just web experiences for a typical website, but data catalogs that expand open government data and put them in the hands of the general public,” explained Link Digital founder Steven De Costa.

As a member of the steering group at CKAN since 2014, contributing to the project’s technology roadmap, De Costa also participated in the GovHack committee.

“After 12 years of creating websites and marketing web development, customers expected more, but expected to pay less and it became a much less viable business,” said De Costa.

“If you are focusing on quality professional services, we would have to reduce the quality and use cheaper outsourcing providers, and even then, customers still demand more, which makes more responsibility for web developers.

“This was a winning result for us in the end, and we wanted to move to a more specific area focused on open data.”

The company operates largely from its Canberra headquarters, but also has staff in Perth and Melbourne.

In April 2018, De Costa moved to Berlin, Germany, to help expand his services, as he was accepted into the Australian Landing Pad in Berlin, which is administered by the Australian government.

This acts as a center to meet other international companies and large German and European corporations, which provide access to investment opportunities.

“I’ve been working on that perspective for about three years, as a personal goal, and it was only in April that we really started that and we’ll be in Germany for a couple of years,” he said.

Outside of Australia, Link Digital collaborates with partners to serve customers in Denmark, Saudi Arabia (through its partnership with Master Works) and New Caledonia.

Over the next two years, Link Digital expects to expand operations with a strong European team, funded directly by new customer acquisitions.

“We are currently working to establish a global network of partners and seek to establish a parent company, and within the structure to establish a nonprofit organization to conduct research and development in the area of ​​open data,” explained De Costa.

“We have recently established a research and development team, which has two people at the moment, but we see that it is expanding and growing to the same size as Link Digital through the new non-profit organization that will be created in the next few years. three years to four months. ”

The largest area of ​​focus for Link Digital is within open government data, followed by corporate data management, and one of its corporate clients is LEGO Systems.

De Costa also pointed out that in the coming years, he will also focus his attention on the academic world on open research data.

“The company has grown at a fairly constant rate over the years and will continue to do so as we work more with large companies,” he said.