Enormous amount of information is flooding today’s Public Sector agencies, requiring them to work with and manage substantial amounts of data. This data comes from numerous sources including historical documents, images, social media, e-services, correspondence, acts, circulars and much more. To leverage this data efficiently, governments have joined the Big Data bandwagon and are readily adopting new methods to capture, archive, and analyze this information. Big Data and similar analytical tools can be used by agencies for predictive analysis, leading to better quality and effective decisions. The use of analytics can also help in improving the internal operations, especially when they are used to enhance performance and control systems within an agency. One of the major challenges faced by these agencies is to leverage the findings of big data sources, while not compromising with the private and confidential information of citizens.
Some of the areas where big data can transform government agencies are as follows:
Improving service delivery – Big-data technologies are helping local and state agencies to provide timely, accurate, complete, and customizable information to their employees, residents and businesses. A case in point is the use of big data tools by many organizations at the state level to monitor transportation systems. Analysis of these systems can help officials in anticipating problems that could lead to traffic jams and address the transit related issues. Agencies can analyze the data sets related to nutrition, crime, obesity, employment, drug safety, healthcare etc. and deliver better services or make decisions that support their mission. Agencies can also use big-data technologies to enahnce their disaster response and management by collecting the data shared though different communication sources like text messages, phone calls and social media posts.
Preventing fraud in Tax compliance – Tax organizations lose a lot of money through fraud and unpaid taxes. There is a huge pressure on tax departments to collect more revenue, reduce operational costs and improve collections. Agencies can analyze huge amounts of data available for corporate entities as well as individuals to increase tax collections. They can study various parameters like expenditure, people’s lifestyle and travel patterns to identify those who could be evading taxes. Even for people travelling abroad and buying expensive goods the department can track their digital footprints through online shopping statistics and piece together a their lifestyle to create a taxable database. Thus big data can enable tax departments to minimize the tax gap by proactively detecting & determining frauds and unpaid taxes.
Crime prevention and prediction – Increase in the number of crimes and the way these crimes are being executed, make it necessary for government agencies to adopt a fresh approach for managing crime-related information. Agencies require increased volume, variety and velocity of data to identify the threats to anticipate criminal activity and take corrective measures, enhancing the level of response. Big data can also be used for fighting against terrorism and organized crime, fraud detection, and maintaining internal and external security. Government organizations can analyze various data sets and use advanced real-time analytics to gather deeper understanding of crime, criminals and incident patternsin order to prevent and predict crime. By examining patterns in past crime data along with the environmental characteristics, analysts can forecast the crime location and deploy officers accordingly.
Inspite of privacy and security related challenges the opportunities that big data opens for agencies are endless. Government organizations around the world are going for big data adoption and similar analytical tools for predictive analysis to improve the quality of decisions and enable betterment of society at large.