How Governments Can Leverage Big Data to Provide Better Services

Governments deal with a lot of information in their day-to-day operations, often in bigger volumes than most businesses and organizations do. This is why they also stand to gain so much more if they harness the power of big data. With the help of various tools like analytics software and database replication solutions, it will be easier to practice good governance, allocate both human and material resources more efficiently, and deliver better services to their constituents.

Here are are just a few ways how governments all over the world can use the power of big data for their advantage.

Big data can help governments identify pain points in their systems, services, and processes.

Among the most common complaints that constituents make about government services like availing assistance benefits is that they can be slow, bothersome (too many steps or superfluous requirements, for example), or choked with bureaucratic red tape, that they are often dissuaded from even trying. Through big data analysis, governments can pinpoint the causes of service failures and identify process pain points, right down to the specific office or even the person where the issues stem from. This can then provide decision makers with the information necessary to resolve these issues and provide a smoother customer experience for their constituents.

Tools like data replication can also help speed up processes like applying for government permits or IDs. Because all the relevant agencies have the most updated version of a citizen’s data, they don’t have to ask for copies of birth certificates and other documents — they just need to access a central database to verify the person’s identity.

Big data can help governments know their constituents better.

Just like businesses, governments need to identify with and understand the people that they’re serving in order to provide the services in the most effective and efficient ways possible. By analyzing the voluminous amounts of information they deal with in a daily basis, governments can not only get a clearer picture of the demographics they serve, but also come up with better services that can help improve their constituents’ quality and way of life, without having to resort to costly and time-consuming work groups and census efforts.

For example, public hospitals can examine the data from the elderly, like the most common health conditions they suffer from. From there, the hospital staff can work with relevant agencies to roll out health benefits and information drives to make it easier for the elderly to get diagnosed and receive treatment for these health conditions.

Big data can help governments reduce fraud and corruption.

Another common problem that plague governments is fraud. While governments do have strict regulations and laws to protect against this illegal activity, actually identifying incidents of fraud as well as identifying (and indicting) the culprits involved is not always easy, even with the help of federal investigation efforts. However, by using big data and relevant tools for analysis, federal investigators can comb through voluminous amounts of information much more quickly, enabling them to not only get wind of cases of fraud within their system but also predict where they might happen. Big data analysis also allows them to discover hidden relationships, trends, and suspicious behaviors that may lead to the identity and apprehension of culprits.

Big data can help governments innovate their services.

Big data can help governments can identify trends and patterns within their constituency, and consequently adapt their services. For example, if law enforcement agencies notice that more people use social media to get in touch with them rather than their telephone hotline, they could allocate more personnel to monitor social networking sites to bring their services “closer to the people,” so to speak. On the other hand, city engineers can monitor the amount of traffic on major thoroughfares everyday, which can give them a clearer picture of road maintenance requirements. Through the help of big data, road workers can also schedule these maintenance activities without interrupting too much of the traffic flow.

The benefits of big data analytics isn’t just confined to companies seeking to earn more revenue and enhance their customer experience. In fact, with an ever-increasing number of people using the internet and allied technologies nowadays, it’s almost imperative for governments to use the data generated through these activities to improve their services and therefor the lives of the people they govern.