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Big Data Potential and Realities for the Federal Government

by Dashboard Insight, Dashboard InsightFriday, October 05, 2012

The need for optimizing the use of data in the government sector has never been greater. With austerity measures coming into place, the demand for the government to be more transparent, cost cutting hitting departments across the board, and the need to monitor and access threats insight into government data, including big data, is must.

The article from Information Management discusses the potential and realities of big data in the government sector.

Big data has enormous potential in the government sector, though little in the way of uptake and strategy at this point, according to a new report from tech industry advocacy non-profit TechAmerica Foundation.

Leaders of TechAmerica’s Federal Big Data Commission on Wednesday unveiled “Demystifying Big Data: A Practical Guide to Transforming the Business of Government.” The 39-page report provides big data basics like definitions and IT options, as well as potentials for deeper data value and government policy talks. Rife in strategy and pointers more than hard numbers on the impact of existing government data initiatives, the report pointed to big data’s “potential to transform government and society itself” by way of cues from successful data-driven private sector enterprises.

“Unfortunately, in the federal government, daily practice frequently undermines official policies that encourage sharing of information both within and among agencies and with citizens. Furthermore, decision-making by leaders in Congress and the Administration often is accomplished without the benefit of key information and without using the power of Big Data to model possible futures, make predictions, and fundamentally connect the ever increasing myriad of dots and data available,” the report’s authors wrote.

In part the reason for the report that TechAmerica called a “first of its kind,” instances of federal big data programs were scant. This is particularly surprising at a time when data produced by the U.S. government is hitting annual highs, with the most recent estimates cited in the report as approximately 848 petabytes created by the federal government in 2009. The report also indicated that big data solutions were now more “affordable,” though there was no price gauge included in the report or in a request for how that term was defined.

The handful of existing examples of implementations in some form of production or use to handle large-scale and unstructured data sets include: a compliance data warehouse at the IRS; the electronic records bank of more than 142 terabytes of information and 7 billion objects at the National Archives and Records Administration; and medical records analytics used at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Read the rest of the article here.

Source: Information Management

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