Data-intensive government: Big Data Technologies and Data-Driven Innovation in the Public Sector

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The adoption of data-intensive solutions in government is already addressing some of the key challenges that government face today in dealing with complex and multi-faceted problems.

Impacts are already visible at the micro-level and on information-intensive public services, while they are still emerging at the policy level. Crime prevention and traffic management appear as the most mature sectors and potential savings overall at European level are estimated up to €300 billion per year according to McKinsey. In social services, for example, existing projects in the UK have already delivered reductions in time for handling information from 3 months to 3 hours, and helped halving the incidents related to exclusion. In public transport, 35.000 users in the first quarter of 2014 are benefiting from predictive models and information sharing on French trains to reduce congestion; car traffic wait time in Stockholm are reduced by 50% and vehicle emissions dropped by 14 to 18 percent. In Los Angeles, crime prediction software proved 50% more accurate in predicting crime than experienced analysis and led to 13% crime reduction.

Government as a lead-user of Big Data technologies could further stimulate the role of data-driven innovation in the public sector, provided the well-known barriers to collaboration between government and start-ups are addressed: public funding and public procurement are largely inaccessible to start-ups in this domain. Government can play a strategic role also as a catalyser of better data sharing in the economy, by developing the appropriate incentives and checks and balances.

Despite the encouraging results registered in several European administrations, Europe’s initiatives and services still are at the micro level and haven’t scaled as in the US counterparts. Government adoption is patchy and left to individual initiative; EU providers generally lag behind US competitors in delivering commoditized scalable solutions. A strategic approach is therefore needed to government as a lead user of big data, and as an enabler of greater data sharing, in the context of a wider big data industrial strategy.

Blogpost by Giorgio Michelleti IDC,

IDC & Open Evidence, , European Data Market Study, 16 June 2014