Data is the new oil. The public sector, while still trailing behind the private sector, is increasingly becoming aware of the transformative power of big data and its applications in various areas of e-governance.
Big data, a term used for the massive amount of digital data collected from various sources, offers new opportunities for innovation, value creation, and decision making to any organization. The definition and scope of big data have evolved from collecting vast amounts of data to the process and technology through which organizations can derive value from their data.
Big data is today synonymous with data intelligence, data analytics, data mining, and has widened its scope from reporting and decision support to forecasting, prediction and decision making. Although private businesses organizations are leading the adoption of big data in their operations, governments, across the world, have begun to adopt it in their processes. During the COVID-19 global pandemic, many governments used big data and other supportive data technologies to monitor the spread of dangerous viruses like coronavirus, share real-time information and provide relief to their citizens.
The major benefits of leveraging big data analytics in e-governance projects are:
- Improvement in online information and service delivery by governments for business analytics.
- Bringing transparency in processes
- Monitoring and visualizing performance
- Forecasting citizen demands
- Extracting intelligence and insights for new projects and optimizing existing ones
- Providing better citizen services.
At Gemini Consulting & Services, our teams worked with several government institutions and organizations and helped them in leveraging data for improving governance and public delivery system. To know how our team of data scientists, analysts and developers can help you build platforms and solutions leveraging artificial intelligence, machine learning and digital technologies, click here.
Big Data in e-governance can be utilized to build several applications. Here are a few ways in which big data can help governments in driving their citizen-centric initiatives.
- Policy Planning: Big data analytics can help policymakers use data from multiple sources to produce economic indicators for policy insights. Big data mining can collect high-frequency and granular data to provide actionable insights into human mobility and economic behavior. For example, many organizations related to urban planning and public transport are using satellite images, data from vehicle sensors and traffic, video feeds etc., to identify citizen needs, land usage and road construction. Analysis on such data also helps in traffic regulation and movement by providing more time to cross intersections for some roads and lesser times to others.
- Law Enforcement: Law enforcement is a key function of governments. Big data solutions allow law enforcement agencies to leverage data and information to enforce law, lower crime rates and expand services. New technologies like facial recognition, speech recognition, drones and predictive analytics can be leveraged to strengthen law enforcement and prevent crimes. In Bogota, Colombia, researchers from the World Bank are leveraging big data and risk terrain modeling to understand the relationships between crime and find solutions to it.
- Disaster Management: We have already witnessed this happening during the Covid-19 pandemic. Many government organizations used big data analytics to track the spread of viruses and build counter measures. Big data can be used for disaster preparedness and provide relief to the citizens. Higher accuracy in information gathering and weather forecasting can help in alerting citizens of coming natural calamities. It can also be used to identify vulnerable groups like the elderly and children.
- Citizen Services: Citizens are today accustomed to personalized, on-demand and speedy delivery from business organizations and many have similar expectations from government institutions. Government organizations can utilize big data develop innovative delivery channels and improve citizen services. Governments have massive amounts of data and this data can be used to extract administrative insights on various citizen services including education, healthcare, taxes, housing, food distribution, land registration etc.
- Fraud Detection: Most government projects are vulnerable to fraud and other forms of corruption. Big data can help organizations to build robust fraud detection mechanisms. The Australian Electoral Commission (AEC) is using data simulations to investigate electoral fraud. It uses big data to maintain the accuracy, integrity and completeness of electoral data. Big data simulations are used to detect anomalies or frauds. In 2019, the AEC engaged Deakin University to collect data on polling place performance and build simulations to improve polling processes, optimize resource allocation and reduce voting time.
Big data is transforming the way governments are using data and information to gain insights and make informed decisions. As it becomes more mainstream, big data analytics can change the landscape of e-Governance projects.