InterContinental Wellington New Zealand01 January 1970
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American author, Michael Lewis, wrote in his book, “Moneyball”,
about how Billy Beane, the general manager of an American professional baseball
team, used statistics and data analysis to determine which key performance
measures contributed to winning baseball games. Beane used the information to
guide his decisions on whom to draft, sign, and trade, to form a highly
competitive team on a tight budget.
This story reflects how big data and evidence-based decision
making can allow one to make informed key decisions, and it is not only
applicable in baseball, but also in other sectors from healthcare to retail
sales, and increasingly in the public sector as well.
From the vast amount of data that government acquires daily, they
are expected to manage and analyse them in a way that:· Will benefit the public· Facilitate government transparency
However, it can be difficult to consolidate, manage, and extract
insights from these large and diverse data sets.
Better access to the mounds of information given will enable the
government to make better and more informed decisions. Government leaders have
called for investments in Big Data analytics capabilities to modernise
government services and aid their economies, and they have recognised the
benefits of using analytics.In selecting the right
solutions to meet their needs, government leaders need to look for technologies
that are in line with other imperatives.
New Zealand is a world leader in harnessing the benefits of
digital technologies. The latest findings in the Digital Evolution Index (DEI)
from Tufts University’s Fletcher School showed that,
“Out of 60 countries assessed, New Zealand was one of only three ‘stand-out’
This standing is no accident as it is the result of decisions and
initiatives of successive governments over many years. The new government is
also committed to things like creating the position of a national Chief
Technology Officer, maintaining emphasis on investment in their digital
infrastructure, and ensuring the market for supply of digital technologies is
open and competitive. Embracing digital technology is fundamental to New Zealand’s
future competitive advantage and place in the global economy.
Just recently, the government has announced that they are
officially adopting the International Open Data Charter. This can ensure that
government-held data is used to achieve better outcomes for New Zealanders.By opening public agencies’ data, the government is encouraging
openness as the default setting for government agencies to make non-personal,
unclassified and non-confidential data freely available to anyone to use and
share, hence providing transparency about the data the government holds, equip
agencies with better tools and resources, and connect citizens and government.
There is also an emergence of inexpensive, massive and readily
available computing power, as well as mountains of data available to train
machines, form patterns and produce insights. Artificial Intelligence (AI) has
played a key role in maximising productivity.For example, Auckland Airport has deployed its first ever digital
biosecurity officer called Vai, which stands for Virtual Assistant Interface
(Vai), for duty. While nothing can replace human interaction and relationships,
Vai helps to free up officers’ time and allow them to deal with more important
aspects of their role, especially during peak hours.
Having said all that,
what are the other forces that shape analytics? How else can the government and
future leaders accelerate the use of analytics?
OpenGov, in collaboration with SAS,
is bringing Ms Karen Harfield, General
Manager of the Information Debt and Appeals Division for Australia’s Department
of Human Services, to Wellington for an exclusive Breakfast Insights
Session to discuss these issues.
This is a closed-door, invitation-only, interactive session with
New Zealand’s top government agencies and industry experts.