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Big Data in government: the key to management

09 Feb 2016

Centralising data within government organisations is key, according to the advanced analytics business unit at Teradata.

According to Alec Gardner, general manager, Advanced Analytics at Teradata, many Australian government agencies are releasing public data sets for use in innovative applications and analytical purposes.

Garner says much of this data is held disparately across departments, and centralising this data could drive greater usage benefits and minimise risks.

“Malcolm Turnbull recommitted to the international Open Government Partnership when he took the reigns as Prime Minister in 2015,” Gardner says.

“The Australian Government has since commenced a consultative approach with the public and industry to develop a two-year action plan to meet its open data commitments.”

Gardner says there is a wealth of public data and information held by the government at all levels that could deliver to valuable insights.

“It not only has the potential to lead to innovative new programs and apps, it also boosts government transparency,” he explains. “But the government must centralise the release of this information or risk diminished benefits.”

When data from unrelated information is released across multiple websites with different descriptor names, it can become difficult to identify the relationship between various data sources, says Gardner.

“This raises possible duplicate data sets being used simultaneously, resulting in potentially confusing outcomes and making accurate analysis more tricky.”

According to Gardner, while governments are very protective of public information, there can be an increased risk to privacy when data is released by multiple agencies.

“Aggregating multiple disparate data sets could lead to unintended results,” Gardner explains. “For example, individuals could potentially be identified on the strength of the analytics applied to multiple, overlapping datasets.”

However, centralising the storage and release of large data sets can help to minimise the risks and make it less difficult to analyse public information, he says.

“Another benefit of centralising this data is that government agencies themselves will be able to gain more insight from the information they, and other public organisations, hold,” explains Gardner.

“It is no small feat to gather together all of the information government departments around the country hold. But with the right big data analytics it could help pave the way for the government to gain a much richer image of the Australian population,” Gardner says.

“This, in turn, can help the government to craft better policy and more effective public programs.”

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