Technology update for the public sector
What does Big Data mean to you?
RECORDED WEBCAST |
Big Data is one of the most frequently heard buzz words in technology today. How does an educational or governmental organization tackle the challenges and issues of Big Data? How do you know what questions to ask and what priorities to set? How do you evaluate options, establish realistic budgets and provide the right resources to ensure successful technical deployments?
First, it’s important to define Big Data and how it applies to public sector organizations. There are many definitions out there describing Big Data, but essentially it means the leveraging of large volumes of information and data, and applying computer power to obtain analytics, enhanced insights and informed decision making. And don’t let the name fool you. Big Data is scalable. The concept cannot only be applied to large and complex organizations, but also to smaller and developing entities as well.
Big benefits to Big Data
Uses of Big Data in the public sector, and particularly governmental entities, can include areas within fraud and security, enabling agencies to be more proactive with responses to challenges and emergencies. Examples of this include:
- Fraud detection: By analyzing patterns and anomalies, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force uncovered $452 million in false billings.
- Enhanced security: The Department of Homeland Security continuously analyzes cargo traffic in real-time to look for security threats.
- Improved transportation: Local governments use real-time analysis to anticipate problems that could disrupt transportation flow, alleviate traffic congestion and address transit issues.
- Improved emergency response and community interaction: New York City uses 311 and 911 data to determine where to focus resources.
Another impact area Big Data can play a key role in includes an organization’s finance metrics. By compiling financial data, trends and assumptions can be plotted to create key performance indicators (KPIs). These KPIs can impact a variety of operations, including: property tax refunds, collections, vendor payments, speed of procurement and staff efficiency. This collection and publishing of data to the public will enable transparency which is a growing need and request of constituents. The public can obtain data on crime, traffic, community program spending, vendor information and much more, which cuts down on agency calls and requests from the community
Mobility and social media implications
Mobility and social media are key sources of Big Data. For instance, cities with mobile applications enable community members to send texts and photos related to transportation conflicts, road closures, public transportation delays and more. This direct interaction and compiled data improves public safety, quickens response times and improves communication channels between agencies, work crews in the field and the public.
Leveraging social media is also useful in the public sector. Examples include:
- Using Twitter during natural disasters for immediate communication to smartphones
- Deploying surveys and voting through social media which provides new ideas on services, ways to conserve government spending and allows citizens a new, convenient and comfortable channel to submit information or get involved in issues
- Using Twitter or other social media formats allows city council members and politicians to interact with constituents in a more immediate fashion
Where to start?
How can an organization get started on harnessing Big Data and creating a comprehensive business intelligence plan? We frequently begin clients with what we call a Rapid Assessment ®, which is a quick-phased approach identifying key areas of focus, benchmarking and performance goals, quick-win opportunities, and a longer term set of business intelligence initiatives. The phases include a discovery period, analysis and a road map development stage.
In addition, related to setting up mobility and social media channels, organizations should deploy a mobile solution strategy which includes an established governance policy, custom application creation, security policies and a user communication plan. The key to developing a successful mobile solution is to keep the navigation easy and provide a meaningful solution that impacts both the organization and its users. Poll your potential user audience and vet your app solution with this group. In the application development stage, make sure your mobility strategy focus is on infrastructure as well as operations, policy and security. And, related to a social media strategy, organizations should work with their marketing departments on developing a plan outlining uses and communication outreach to the public.
Big Data can mean big opportunities for most organizations; however, developing a sound business intelligence approach is paramount to successful implementation. It’s important to have a structured process and a well-planned road map in place to manage priorities, budget and resources.
For more information, contact the webcast presenter:
Director, Technology Consulting