Big data is a big subject for government leaders

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Recently, there has been a lot of noise around the beltway about "big data" and analytics, and what it means for government.  Last week, SAS hosted the 11th Annual Government Executive Leadership Summit which focused on exploring that very subject.

Held at the Newseum in downtown D.C., the event attracted a solid crowd of government professionals very interested in learning more.  I suspect the popularity was due to certain big data session topics, like “Surviving and Thriving in the Big Data Avalanche” where veteran data diva Jill Dyché pointed out that times (and data) have changed and “this is not your mother’s data warehouse.”

In fact, 90 percent of data in business today has been generated in just the last two years!  And, most of this new data is unstructured and doesn’t fit nicely into neat tables.  The explosive growth of data from social media and mobile devices is flooding in and many agencies don’t know how to manage it.

The noise is not just coming from industry analysts and vendors – it’s coming from the highest level of government.  In March of this year, the Obama Administration affirmed that “BIG DATA IS A BIG DEAL” when they announced the Big Data Research and Development Initiative.   And just last month, Federal CIO Steve VanRoekel and Federal CTO Todd Park jointly released their strategy for Digital Government: Building a 21st Century Platform to Better Serve the American People, where one of the strategy objectives is to “unlock the power of government data to spur innovation across our Nation and improve the quality of services for the American people.

As agencies pull together their big data strategies, here are some items Ms. Dyché suggested government leaders ask themselves:

  • Will your organization’s big data strategy support the 2012 Digital Government strategy?  Is it Mobile?  Open?  Nimble?  Secure?
  • What other big data opportunities exist within your organization?
  • What can you deliver that is “customer-centric?”
  • What can you discover that can trigger innovation?
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Gail Bamford

Government Industry Marketing Professional

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