The importance of data standardization at a granular level has many implications: greater data quality, ability to leverage inexpensive standardized software applications instead of costly proprietary applications, flexibility in assembling reports and in designing and executing business intelligence rules dynamically with a lower price tag.
In her article Exploring Open Data’s Microdata Frontier, Emily Shaw from the Sunlight Foundation correctly argues that the key issue with microdata is privacy. In the business/financial data domain there is some granular data that must be public by law, which means that its standardization is a no brainer — the DATA Act in the United States is an example of an effort to bring data standardization at the Government payments cycle level of granularity. Project SICONFI in Brazil has a very similar scope.
Microdata standardization plays a key role also within an organization. Standardizing internal microdata enables all the benefits mentioned above. Because data is not published and the normal access privileges policy used within the organization apply to standardized data as well, privacy is not more of an issue than for data stored in proprietary software.
Business data standards designed to represent granular data such as XBRL Global Ledger are truly the new frontier of innovation, both for open data and to achieve significant efficiencies in data-related processes within organizations in a sustainable way.