Big data 2.0 a big opportunity for government

A recent audit by Australia’s Digital Transformation Agency (DTA) revealed that there are currently over 70 significant IT projects in the Federal Government. With an estimated lifetime cost of $7.2 billion, it is clear that digital in government is here to stay.

Although it strategy into cloud and open source is clear, part of the Government’s push to digital involves its uptake of big data initiatives. These initiatives have been bolstered by recent announcements such as GovPass and the Productivity Agenda.

Increasingly, big data goes beyond large datasets. The term has been used to describe the process of collecting the data and analysing it to identify patterns, trends, and associations relating to human behaviour, digital footprints, and security.

Increasingly, big data also takes into consideration real-time ‘data as it happens,’ which provides smaller and increasingly relevant datasets to allow new avenues of data exploration for predictive modelling accuracy.

The Australian Government has significant investments in data analysis technologies. It is investing in next-generation data platform technologies to drive economic and social welfare benefits for citizens.

As we move to make important decisions with data, it is essential that big data technologies provide reliable, authenticated, and secure information, while at the same time ensuring value for money for the Government.

The next generation of technologies, sometimes referred to as ‘big data 2.0’, offers enterprise-level applications without the cost and complexity that has often accompanied big data applications, and with the stability of open source.

With enterprise streaming, improved data capture, open APIs (applications pr0gramming interfaces), and scalable storage for nearly all types of file formats, citizens and government will be able to rely on and trust in data.

Saving money always, in all ways

Like businesses, governments are always looking into ways to optimise IT costs, reduce risk, and deliver greater value to citizens with smaller investments. In response to this, the recent Productivity Agenda announced that the Government will leverage big data to uncover inefficiencies in public spending to give back to Australians.

The benefits of embracing big data 2.0 technologies are diverse, especially for governments. Data analytics can aid governments in relation to organisational redundancy, preventing fraud and other financial crimes, run better biometrics, analyse real-time imagery, and most importantly, manage resources and funds more efficiently.

The technology also provides an excellent return on investment. Money saved can be invested in digital solutions to deliver greater efficiencies and performance by transforming legacy applications. Moving legacy to operational, whilst having the ability to develop future state all at the same time, is of huge value.

By using big data platforms, these decision-makers no longer have to conduct extensive research and analysis across multiple data sources stored in a variety of systems to find the gaps where spending can be reined in.

Doing away with inefficiencies

Big data 2.0 also has the ability to drastically reduce interdepartmental inefficiencies. The recent announcement of GovPass is one positive step forward in eliminating inefficiencies and furthering Australia’s digital transformation strategy.

The program will rely on hugely complex data platforms to identify and verify all Australians online, matching a user’s photograph, as well as information such as Medicare details, driver’s licence, and birth certificate details, with data already held by various departments. India has already successfully developed and deployed complex identity projects, such as The Aadhar project, which verifies millions of users in under 200 milliseconds.

Australians currently have to move between numerous online services through a variety of departments, all with different login processes. By simplifying more than 30 logins required for various government services, there will be a significant benefit for Australians who’ll have a smoother and more efficient interaction with government services.

The adoption of big data 2.0 platforms in the Australian Government signals a new frontier for government services, as more digital transformation programs are being considered by these once-traditional organisations to optimise costs and streamline services.

Adrian Smolski is a Senior Solutions Architect and Mike Pamphilon is Director (Australian Federal Government, Defence and Intelligence) at MapR.


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