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Big Data in the Public Sector : Applications and Benefits

  • Manisha Sahu
  • Aug 11, 2021
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Where does data come into play when it comes to creating more efficient and effective policies? How is it possible to predict, for example, behaviour, crime, or fires, using data collected from sensors? Governmental organisations, on the other hand, may have an even greater obligation to manage data responsibly and securely. It's definitely true when it comes to personal information. Which data is actually owned by whom?

 

Data is the new form of currency. Industry-wide, as well as government-wide, business practises are being transformed by technological advancements and an ever-increasing amount of data digitization and data generation in government are on the rise. Information on the Internet is growing and becoming more complicated.

 

The information management, storage, security and processing processes are also becoming more complex as a result of this. As big data's potential value grows, so does the government's awareness.

 

 

Big data and public management

 

Big data is a rapidly evolving field that offers significant opportunities when explored and applied in order to uncover deep insights into the data. Private organisations and the public sector are adopting big data analytics applications at a rapid rate, and data is now an integral part of critical decision-making.

 

Public sector transactions, employment, education, manufacturing, and agriculture, to name a few, generate a large amount of publicly available information. In addition to boosting productivity and growth, applications of big data analytics can help the government achieve greater efficiency and combat fraud. 

 

Collaboration with private organisations can help government and public-sector organisations provide better services to citizens and respond to their needs more quickly and accurately.

 

Several European government leaders have called for investments in big data analytics to modernise services and improve their economies, according to a Forbes report. This trend isn't limited to Europe and North America; it's already a part of a number of government initiatives around the globe. India has already established an open government data platform to provide public data to analysts, researchers and practitioners.

 

To combat terrorism, MI5 has launched a new data sharing scheme that will allow the NHS and other social service providers to share more information. In addition to its value as a business tool, data analytics is now viewed as a valuable asset in the public sector.

 

( Recommended blog : AI in Politics & Government )

 

 

How can big data be used by the government?

 

Businesses have always been open to new ideas, so it's no surprise that, as soon as the benefits of big data were discovered, companies began implementing new methods related to big data analytics. Government structures, on the other hand, are notoriously conservative due to their bureaucratic nature, and new methods must often function flawlessly before they can be implemented into the political process.

 

Big data has enormous potential in the public sector. A government's everyday activities, such as managing social benefits, collecting taxes, monitoring the national health and education systems, recording traffic data and issuing official documents generate and collect vast amounts of data each and every day. Information that is readily available in real time enables government agencies and departments to identify areas in need of attention, make more informed decisions more quickly, and implement necessary changes.

 

Its flexibility and universality are two of its most attractive features. Governments – local, national, and global – can be greatly impacted by big data. For critical decisions that affect millions of people, governments must make sense of the enormous amount of data they receive every day. Verifying the accuracy of information can be difficult. Misleading information can have obnoxious effects.

 

Governments can use big data and analytics to unlock key information and improve transparency and efficiency in public management. Government agencies can benefit from implementing big data platforms by improving the way they utilise IT, discovering new capabilities and services, understanding correlations and trends in underlying data, and improving decision making.

 

( Related blog : 7 Applications AI finance )

 

 

Applications of Big Data in government

 

Since big data is so versatile, it can be used in a variety of industries and settings. Big Data platforms allow government agencies to access large volumes of information that are essential for their daily operations. With real-time access, governments can identify areas that require attention, make better and more timely judgments about how to proceed, and enact the necessary changes. In government, big data can be applied in the following areas.

 

1. Healthcare

 

Healthcare is a global issue. A large number of health systems are dependent on government subsidies and support in order to function. A waste of resources or an unfair distribution of government subsidies is therefore possible. Big Data gives governments a clear picture of where and why money is spent. Many health care systems today rely on government funding and assistance for their survival. 

 

This could lead to resource waste or an unequal distribution of government grants. Using big data, governments can see where money is going and why. Essentially, this means that government agencies will be in full control of their own resources.Government agencies now have better control over resources and the community's benefit.

 

2. Agriculture

 

As well as within a country, it is difficult to keep track of livestock and land. Keeping track of the many types of crops and livestock raised by its citizens would be a difficult task for the government. How governments manage and support their farmers and their resources can be altered by big data. The ability to collect and analyse large amounts of data simplifies agriculture management.

 

( Related blog : 7 IoT Solutions For Precision Agriculture )


The images depicts the applications of big data in public sector. They are - healthcare - Agriculture - Transport - Education - Taxation - open Government - smart cities  - weather forecasting - National security and,  - Cybersecurity. Let's take close at these topics.

Applications of Big Data in Public Sector


3. Transport

 

Every day, millions of people use public roads, whether they are walking or driving. In addition to the condition of the roads and police officers, vehicle safety is also affected by the weather conditions. Because of all of these factors, it is nearly impossible to prevent every accident that could occur. Governments can monitor the transportation sector with the help of big data, ensuring safer roads, better roads, and new roads.

 

Local government agencies are able to analyse traffic flow data on a variety of routes. Road sensors, video cameras, and GPS devices transmit traffic data in real time, which the analytic tools aggregate. So, traffic managers can identify potential road safety risks based on this information in return.

 

In urban areas, public transportation routes are adjusted in real-time to address any identified traffic threat. Building a safe environment in cities and towns begins with road safety. As a result, it is nearly impossible to control anything that could lead to an accident, including road conditions, police officer behaviour, vehicle safety, and weather. 

 

Big data, on the other hand, is the tool that enables governments to ensure safer and better new roads in the first place. In real time, traffic data can be obtained from CCTV cameras or GPS devices using different analytical models. Traffic managers can then identify potential threats to road safety and take action to correct the problem.

 

4. Education

 

A better understanding of educational needs at both the federal and local levels is made possible by big data. A high-quality education for young people will benefit the country in the long run.

 

Both at the state and municipal levels, the government can better understand educational needs with the help of big data. Youth, who will develop the country in the future, will have access to education of the highest quality. Aside from that, big data could be used to improve the evaluation of students and track their individual progress.

 

( Related blog: 8 Applications of IoT in Education )

 

5. Poverty eradication

 

Many governments have tried for years to eradicate poverty in the world. It is through the use of Big Data that governments are equipped to come up with better and more innovative ideas for reducing poverty levels around the world. As a result of this data, it is easier to identify the areas that have urgent needs and how to address them.

 

6. Taxation

 

Data from social networks and other sources will help tax authorities verify information's accuracy or identify potential fraud. It's possible that this isn't a complete list, and some people/companies may have slipped under the radar of IT. The government would be able to detect fraud and maximise collection with the help of predictive analytics.

 

7. Open government

 

Institutions and users can freely exchange information under open data initiatives, increasing trust, transparency, and accountability between citizens and government.

 

In addition to what was said about business-related applications, other possible applications include:

 

  • Segmentation of citizens in order to tailor public services to specific individuals.

  • Citizen sentiment analysis to help politicians prioritise services and be aware of citizens' interests and viewpoints.

  • Assisting government economists in making accurate financial forecasts by combining multiple data sources.

  • improving cybersecurity to detect and stop hacking attempts.

  • Better understanding voter preferences to run more effective political campaigns.

 

8. Smart cities

 

Management systems and decision-making algorithms are also affected by the concept of "smart cities". To automate processes and provide services to citizens and consumers, local governments are increasingly turning to big data technologies. Big data is used in smart cities in the same areas as described above. 

 

In a smart city, there are five main pillars: intelligent mobility, intelligent economy, intelligent governance, intelligent environment, and intelligent people. Large amounts of data can be used in smart cities to increase public participation, promote economic growth, improve energy efficiency to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, improve security and emergency services, and manage waste water pollution.

 

 

9. Weather Forecasting

 

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) sensors on land, at sea, and in space continuously collect data. Data from NOAA is used to forecast the arrival of a hurricane or tornado. The organisation collects and analyses large amounts of data using a Big Data approach in order to come up with the right data.

 

 

10. National security

 

Big Data is the source of NSA's data processing power. It makes use of Accumulo, an open source project developed by the National Security Agency (NSA) that allows users to store data in large tables for easier access and enhanced security. While Accumulo prevents access to information that could reveal personal information, the agency can use it to investigate various details when it brings together data sets.

 

 

11. Crime detection and prevention

 

According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, criminals laundered more than $1.6 trillion in 2009, which is equivalent to 2.7% of GDP. The US Treasury Department's Bureau of Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) collects and analyses a large number of bank transactions using Big Data tools. As a result, money laundering, terrorism financing, and other illegal activities can be combated more effectively.

 

 

12. Cybersecurity

 

Besides detecting malware and unauthorised access attempts, DHS employs a system of intrusion detection for sensors that can analyse internet traffic entering and leaving Federal systems. Anomalies and suspicious behaviour are identified using big data analytics. Cybercrime can be combated with the information that has been gathered.

 

( Must check : What is Cybersecurity? )

 

 

13. Improved service delivery

 

For future generations, the California Natural Resources Agency (CNRA) has implemented Big Data analysis. Agency created a shared service that is based on a repository that contains all information needed by other agencies in the state government. Participants in the agency and the general public have access to this pool of information.

 

 

Benefits of Big Data for Federal and State Governments

 

Massive amounts of data are created and used in the public sector or government services. Government agencies can save money by using big data. Through the effective use of big data, the federal government can actually save tens of billions of dollars annually. 

 

Federal and state governments can reap the following benefits from big data:


The image depicts the benefits of big data for federal and state governments. They include - Quick enhanced productivity and improved  decision - Improved Transparency and cost reduction - Eliminating fraud, removing waste and abuse - Reduced crimes and security threats - Increased ROI and improved mission outcome and, - Workforce effectiveness.

Benefits of Big Data For Federal and State Government


Quick, enhanced productivity and improved decision making

 

When trends and other insights locked in Big Data are identified, it is easier and faster for organisations to make decisions. Other technologies are used to process real-time data. If these tools aren't available, the decision-making process can be avoided entirely.

 

Due to the availability of the necessary tools, all users can efficiently access large data sets. Because of better government choices, the citizens of the country benefit from improved services.

 


Improved transparency and cost reduction

 

Several government tax agencies store personal information, which is then replicated throughout the public sector as well. To collect data that the government already has, citizens are constantly required to fill out forms. Information from a shared pool is easily accessible by government agencies when data is stored in a central location. This also reduces inefficiencies and ensures that only the correct data is used, which is beneficial.

 

It allows for a free flow of information, improves transparency, and builds trust with citizens when governments make their big data sets available. The citizens are aware of the government's data collection practises and what the government does with the collected data.

 

 As a result of this transparency, citizens can monitor the impact of government expenditures and pressure the government to spend wisely. The processing and sharing of Big Data allows organisations to provide information as a service.

 

 

Eliminating fraud, removing waste and abuse

 

Fraud reduction has been one of the most important benefits of Big Data in government. Identifying discrepancies can also help organisations eliminate internal waste. Abuse and fraud perpetrated by parties or by the people they serve can be eradicated based on the missions assigned to the various agencies.

 

 

Reduced crimes and security threats

 

In addition, Big Data can assist state government departments in uncovering crimes and other illegal activities that pose a threat to society's stability. Also, local and state governments could use big data to work together to reduce criminal activity in the community.

 

In fraud detection, a careful analysis of Big Data can help identify abnormal behavioural patterns that indicate fraud. They can be used to create profiles and statistical parameters that can be used to identify transactions that should be scrutinised. The criminal justice system's effectiveness and efficiency can be improved by using an information-centric approach based on multiple data sets.

 

( Recommended blog : How Weather Forecasting uses Big Data Analytics )

 

 

Increased ROI and Improved mission outcomes

 

  • IT systems are optimised by using big data, while financial activity is analysed better. When governments consolidate data and analysis tools, they reduce infrastructure and operational costs by a great deal.

  • Big Data analytics can be used to respond to dangerous natural disasters, detect health issues, prevent water scarcity problems, and coordinate thousands of displaced people. When Hurricane Maria hit in 2017, for instance, analytics were used to determine which areas needed immediate assistance and better resource allocation.

  • Large-scale data analysis helps state agencies and local councils learn from their mistakes.

 

 

Workforce effectiveness 

 

Authorities can use big data to better understand the workforce gaps created when employees leave or retire in search of new employment. Retiring employees can be replaced with new employees, allowing the agencies to operate smoothly.

 

 

Wrapping up

 

The government will be required to maintain a high level of security in order to protect sensitive information that could be misused.

 

So, Data is a valuable resource for the government. The future of analytic frameworks for integrating data in public departments looks positive. In order to build successful data and analytics capabilities, the government would need to develop an industry-university-government strategy. How all of these developments affect the country's citizens and contribute to a more effective governance system will be interesting to watch.

 

Insights gleaned from big data can be beneficial to the general public and the government. As government services modernise, Big Data is expected to play a key role. I hope I've been able to shed some light on your familiarity with Big Data analytics in the public sector.

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