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Data Analytics in the Public Sector

The Digital Agenda is one of the seven pillars of the European Union's Europe 2020 Strategy. Its objective is to enable smart, sustainable and inclusive growth in Europe by harnessing the power and potential of digital technology. Data analytics technology, is understandably, one of the major opportunities to enhance efficiencies in the public sector.

Investment and collaboration

In a 2014 survey showed that the interest in and adoption of big data among Western European governments is increasing steadily. Survey results indicate that government executives plan to invest in big data analytics, with a view to improve revenue collection, lower financial abuse and fraud, and to give overall efficiency a boost.

European governments are running innovative programs and initiatives revolving around big data technologies and analytics. The focus has been to solve specific use cases to generate valuable insight into public sector processes.

Singapore initiatives

As part of what Singapore is doing with respect to digital technology programmes, data.gov.sg has defined the following data sharing principles, providing a guide for Government agencies Open Data efforts. The principles are:

1)      Data shall be made easily accessible – Data that will be shared publicly will be shared on data.gov.sg or OneMap. Data requiring registration will require a sample dataset to be available.

2)      Data shall be made available for co-creation - data.gov.sg’s Terms of Use should be used for all data shared publicly to ensure that the current terms of use allow for co-creation.

3)      Data shall be released in a timely manner – Data frequency should be available in the data’s metadata, being available as quickly as possible.

4)      Data shall be shared in machine-readable format – Where possible all data should be published in machine-readable format (e.g. XLS, CSV)

5)      Data shall be as raw as possible – Data needs to be shared in as granular form as possible without compromising data confidentiality or privacy.

data.gov.sg recognize that not all datasets released will be fully adhere to the above principles. They are currently working towards the goal of improving accessibility and quality of their datasets to meet that objectives.

In Europe

Here's a look at how big data is leading improvements across different public services.

Transport

GPS data, sensors and social media are all sources of big data that the transport sector can use for the optimisation of multi-modal transport and management of traffic flows. People and businesses can use route planning support systems to make smart commuting decisions that save them time.

The EU have a project that will develop an open platform for transport services by integrating traditional traffic management data with newer data forms like floating data that uses GPS information to provide information on speed, which can help in deducing road congestion.

Healthcare

Big data has big implications for the healthcare sector. More timely and appropriate treatment can improve patient outcomes and satisfaction. By enabling more accurate identification of unnecessary procedures or duplication of tests, data analytics can provide significant cost savings.

EU-funded ICT tool that combines various databases and system simulation to assist patients with traumatic brain injury, a leading cause of permanent disability in individuals aged 40 and below. The tool will enable doctors to enter data from tests conducted in the emergency department to predict the most effective treatment for each patient.

In the Asia-Pacific region, telehealth has taken off in a major way. An early realisation about the potential of technology in the healthcare domain and an assessment of healthcare delivery models is responsible for making the APAC telehealth market one of the largest in the world.

Manufacturing

Big data can be used to track defects for better product quality, improve manufacturing processes, and optimise supply tracking. An EU research project provides a holistic and integrated view on data, processes and people across the full product cycle to help the manufacturing sector devise better manufacturing processes and innovative product designs.

Agriculture

The use of big data in agriculture can help in increasing productivity, food security and farmer incomes. Big data solutions can provide access to real-time data on farm machinery, and information on topography, crop performance and weather patterns. The E-Agriculture crop monitoring service is an ICT initiative by EU being piloted in Morocco, China and Kenya.

Big data analytics has moved on from being a buzz term to redefining how decisions are made and priorities are set. Investment in analytics will continue getting government executive buy-ins to improve public sector services as well as internal agency operations.

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