Leveraging Big Data in Digital Government

Published on June 22, 2023

Big data analytics has emerged as a game-changer for the public sector, empowering them to make well-informed decisions and enhance their operational efficiency.

By harnessing the power of big data analytics solutions, government entities can base their strategies on concrete facts and figures.

This enables professionals to streamline their operations by leveraging reliable sources of information, leading to more favorable outcomes.

Encouragingly… a recent study indicates that the global big data analytics industry is poised for remarkable growth, reaching over 655 billion US dollars by 2029.

It is evident that public sectors, such as the government, are recognizing the immense potential of big data.

These sectors are increasingly cognizant of the value inherent in the vast volumes of data they generate and collect as part of their routine operations.


What is big data in government?

Big data in government refers to the vast and diverse amount of data generated by various sources within the public sector.

This includes data collected from traffic and CCTV cameras, sensors, satellites, body cameras, as well as information obtained from communication channels such as calls, emails, delivery of services, direct messages, and social media etc.

Additionally, governments are increasingly exploring the use of emerging technologies sourced from private IT spaces and academia to enhance their governance and management practices.

How governments use big data

Transparency and trust

The reciprocal nature of openness in data sharing is pretty important in instilling trust within society.

As governments release detailed reports on their governance practices, citizens gain deeper insights into how they are governed.

This, in turn:

●     encourages better engagement with institutions

●     facilitates the provision of valuable feedback

●     and promotes active involvement in decision-making processes

By making information readily accessible, governments empower citizens to hold them accountable…this way, they contribute to shaping policies and initiatives.

Defense and fraud protection

Government plays a crucial role in safeguarding individuals and groups from a wide range of threats.

This responsibility has expanded to address emerging challenges like cybersecurity, combating misinformation and fraud, and adopting advanced technologies such as robotics and artificial intelligence.

A notable example is the Department of Defense (DOD) in the US, which allocates significant financial resources each year to invest in AI systems, cloud infrastructure, and data platforms.

These initiatives aim to combat cybercrime, protect people from digital threats, and detect and prevent major crises like terrorist attacks.

Public safety

The advancement of technology has led to widespread adoption of surveillance measures in law enforcement.

In some countries police officers now utilize body cameras, and both police cars and city infrastructure are equipped with dash cameras… leading to continuous video recording.

Furthermore, the increasing population density in cities has resulted in a surge of emergency calls.

That’s why…utilizing big data has proven instrumental in concluding numerous recent investigations and resolving long-standing unsolved cases.

In this sense, big data enables authorities to address internal threats within their own organizations while also preventing and resolving harm inflicted by individuals upon others.

City infrastructure

Analytics plays a crucial role in assisting cities and states in gathering accurate data on vehicle safety, road accidents, and driving behavior.

This valuable information empowers governments to make informed decisions in areas such as:

●     road infrastructure

●     traffic management

●     and initiatives aimed at protecting drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians

By utilizing big data and analyzing traffic patterns, public agencies can make necessary adjustments and improvements to public transportation systems.

This helps in catering to the evolving needs of local commuters while also generating potential revenue streams.

Public health

Big data plays a vital role in assisting governments with public health initiatives.

It enables them to tackle various challenges, ranging from combating the spread of misinformation to addressing the persistent issue of drug abuse.

Through the utilization of advanced analytics and data-driven strategies, government agencies can leverage the wealth of information available to them.

One key area where big data is beneficial is in managing dangerous misinformation related to public health.

In the era of social media and rapid information sharing, misinformation can quickly spread and have detrimental effects on public health outcomes (as seen from Covid.)

Bottom line

The ability to analyze vast amounts of data enables evidence-based decision-making, targeted interventions, and proactive monitoring of disease outbreaks.

With the continued advancements in big data analytics, governments are equipped with valuable tools to protect and promote the well-being of their populations.


About the Author

Mohammad J Sear is focused on bringing purpose to digital in government.

He has obtained his leadership training from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government, USA and holds an MBA from the University of Leicester, UK.

After a successful 12+ years career in the UK government during the premiership of three Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher, John Major and Tony Blair, Mohammad moved to the private sector and has now for 20+ years been advising government organizations in the UK, Middle East, Australasia and South Asia on strategic challenges and digital transformation.

He is currently working for Ernst & Young (EY) and leading the Digital Government practice efforts across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), and is also a Digital Government and Innovation lecturer at the Paris School of International Affairs, Sciences Po, France.

As a thought-leader some of the articles he has authored include: “Digital is great but exclusion isn’t – make data work for driving better digital inclusion” published in Harvard Business Review, “Holistic Digital Government” published in the MIT Technology Review, “Want To Make Citizens Happy – Put Experience First” published in Forbes Middle East.

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