This paper provides an opportunity to consider the wide variety of options for agencies when using big data, and the tools that would help them understand what this data means. While considering these options, it is also important to consider the potential concerns that might come with it, like maintaining privacy policies.
The most commonly accepted definition of big data is high-volume, high-velocity, and/or high-variety information assets that need cost-effective, innovative forms of information processing for enhanced insight, decision making, and optimization.
The purpose for the development of a big data strategy is the need for a strategy to enhance cross-agency data analytic capability for improved policy and service delivery. Big data has a more evidence-based policy design and service implementation which allows citizens to interact with their government in a personalized and seamless way.
When government agencies are collecting or managing citizens' data, they need to follow legislative controls, and must comply with a number of acts and regulations. These legislative controls are designed to maintain public confidence in the government that it has an effective and secure way to store citizen information. One must understand and carefully manage certain threats that could allow opportunity for an unfriendly state and non-state actors to glean sensitive information.
Accessible information is the lifeblood of a robust democracy and a productive economy. Government agencies realize that for data to have any value it needs to be discoverable, accessible and usable, and the significance of these requirements only increases as the discussion turns towards big data. Government agencies must achieve these requirements whilst still adhering to privacy laws.
If big data analytics is to be adopted by agencies, a large amount of stress may be placed upon current ICT systems and solutions which presently carry the burden of processing, analysing and archiving data. Government agencies will need to manage these new requirements efficiently in order to deliver net benefits through the adoption of new technologies.
Due to its relative youth and complexity, big data will require agencies to attract employees with diverse new skill sets including: science, technological, research, statistical, analytical and interpretive skills, business acumen and creativity — as well as an understanding of the underlying nature of the business process or policy intent. It is unlikely to find in one person with this skill set so this means that collaborative teams will be needed in order for agencies to meet these needs.