|State and local governments are improving their services by using data analytics and big data / Photo Credit: everything possible (via Shutterstock)|
Matt Parnofiello of technology news website State Tech reported that state and local governments are improving their services for residents by using data analytics and big data. Technology platforms that leverage these tools can identify trends in real-time and aggregate information that were previously overlooked or siloed. In some cases, states use analytics to address back-end issues and find out how well critical benefits applications are performing so they remain accessible to residents. Moreover, data analytics tools are also used to help police departments identify patterns to anticipate crimes. Jane Wiseman, a fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government commented that data analytics tools can aid government agencies in detecting fraud, improving efficiency and minimizing costs, and enhancing the accuracy of government compliance and billing.
Sadly, government agencies are hindered by aging infrastructures, limited budgets, technical complexity, data governance issues, and shortage of skilled workers. They are also struggling to develop and maintain the trust of citizens in data analytics. Citizens are most likely to give sensitive and useful data to governments that use analytics to offer better services. Moreover, quality and access to data is also a challenge among government agencies. One way is for agencies to modernize their platforms via cloud-based tools. “The current trend is to implement integrated systems during major modernization efforts or to build bridges by using master data management tools to get a single view of the citizen,” information technology company IBM noted. Of course, agencies need to invest in hiring and training data scientists to analyze all the data they are gathering.
There are also a variety of data analytics tools to help agencies. Visualization tools can show data analysis results in charts and graphs and even on maps. Unstructured data analysis tools can sift through video files, social media, IoT sensor readings, etc. to “identify those of interest to the agency or to dig deeper in the process of working a case on an individual citizen or business.” Cognitive analysis tools can provide advanced analysis of structured and unstructured data based on AI and machine learning. Agencies can harness the power of big data if the abovementioned obstacles are conquered.