Viewpoints

Using data to combat uncertainty

by American City & County Contributor
Jun 21, 2017

The Trump Administration brings with it a great deal of uncertainty, particularly for local governments who rely on federal funding for projects that directly impact their constituents. While the promised investments in infrastructure would certainly be a boon, there are many more unanswered questions on potential changes to programs that could negatively impact our cities and counties. 

One way to counteract such uncertainty is with data. Running analytics on the massive volumes of data that agencies already have can help them gain insights, make informed decisions and apply resources where they are most needed. For example, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet transforms the data gained from the Internet of Things (IoT) sensors and telematics with advanced analytics and machine learning. Real-time insights help them manage snow and ice events as they happen and keep roads open during the harshest of winters. 

As a bonus, data can help agencies with other timely tasks that ultimately strengthen constituent services, including:

  • Improving efficiency - Cities are getting smarter by the day. By taking advantage of IoT network connectivity and tremendous smart city data output, agencies can improve product and services efficiency throughout the organization. Agencies that can utilize data to quickly derive actionable insight can more effectively address pressing issues impacting the community. And efficiency can be achieved in others way, too--implementing advanced data analytics helps agencies experience the benefits of modern architecture rather than putting resources toward maintaining outdated legacy technology. 

  • Knowing your constituents - To provide the best overall experience to citizens when they interact with any public service, data from interactions across all channels needs to be collected, managed and analyzed to reveal a deeper understanding of constituents. This applies to educational institutions as well; we need a 360-degree view of students to better serve them. Data sharing between agencies and schools is critical for improving services and collaboration between programs. Better access to data increases transparency and improves trust, which contributes to greater quality of life. 

  • Securing your agency - Whether it’s insider threats, data breaches, or attacks, agencies can apply advanced analytics on massive amounts of data, significantly improving risk assessment processes. The ability to quickly discover and address potential threats is imperative and data helps achieve this mission. City and county governments must prioritize security of sensitive constituent data while also using that data to inform citizen services, which is why choosing the right partner to oversee data security is critical. 

Whether the focus is on bolstering government websites, improving response time for first responders, or diminishing traffic inefficiencies, real-time and historical data provides public sector organizations with the ability to make informed decisions and anticipate situations that enhance public safety and improve operations. The possibilities are endless for agencies that collect all data in one centralized, secure, fully-governed place that any department can access anytime, anywhere. A unified view of data provides agency leaders with new and real-time insights that deliver more data-driven and responsive government information and services. Agency leaders will be empowered to quickly determine the most efficient means to provide the support needed as indicated by trusted, advanced data analytics.

Every day, agencies are tasked with making decisions that affect their constituents. With the questions that arise when a new administration takes office, agency leaders can use advanced data analytics to make more informed decisions. Data, generally, increases certainty and can help agency leaders best serve their constituents now and into the future. 

 

Sean Brown is the U.S. director of state, local and education sales at Cloudera, a machine learning and advanced analytics platform provider.

 

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