After noticing the way big data analytics has benefited the private sector – both in terms of the impact and the vast array of uses – government agencies are planning to invest heavily in the technology.
While public sector IT officials are hoping to gain some of big data's cost-saving capabilities, they have many other intentions for these tools, including:
- Using it for fraud prevention to mitigate the risk of cyberattacks.
- Leveraging big data so that law enforcement can prevent crime and solve cases faster.
- Improving medical research, which could lead to better diagnoses, preventative care and saved lives.
But actually achieving those goals will require a few initial steps, from making databases communicate to analyzing the reports big data tools produce to managing increasing amounts of information effectively.
"The government is dealing with more and more data every day, and pretty much anything electronic is producible," Tom Kennedy, director of Public Sector Archiving and E-Discovery for Symantec, recently told Government Technology. In particular, he pointed to social media, audio files and any other electronically produced piece of information.
Three challenges stand in the way
Big data's growth in popularity has been brough about by more than just its benefits; these tools have become significantly easier to use, along with being more affordable for companies of all sizes.
However, a recent Meritalk study revealed that many federal agencies are a few years away from tapping into big data's potential, particularly since they're struggling to deal "with a data tsunami that will overwhelm organizations not able to take advantage of it." That's because many of these organizations are lacking digital storage space, necessary access to data and computational power, among other factors.
This is where data discovery tools can help tremendously, according to Kennedy.
"[Data discovery] is all about being able to intelligently search and retrieve relevant information across huge amounts of data," he told Government Technology, adding, "The basic principle of e-discovery is you're trying to empower the user to sift through huge amounts of information and only find the relevant information. The power of analytics is really important in that process."
With the help of data discovery, storage, access computing and other complicated processes would be automated. That way, government agency professionals can refocus their attention on using big data to achieve their intended goals.
For instance, Kennedy mentioned the way organizations cane use big data to conduct predictive analytics. These tools can scan through thousands, millions or hundreds of millions of files "and come back to you with recommendations on what it believes is relevant and not relevant," he told Government Technology.