Industry Insights

Public sector lagging behind private sector in data analysis

In an unsurprising development, given the pressure that Governments are currently under to save money, boost operational efficiency and improve public services, the British Government recently announced significant new investment in data handling, reports business intelligence provider Panintelligence. Some £600 million of science spending has been announced in the Autumn Statement, with science minister David Willetts stating in recent days that it would be allocated between "eight great technologies" which included data analysis.

The large volumes of data involved in the public sector have traditionally caused problems with efficient and effective analysis. In a speech to the Conservative think tank Policy Exchange, Willetts spoke of how "Computer modelling of an economy, a substance or a process is becoming very different and far more sophisticated than it was even a decade ago. Business will invest more as they see us invest more in computational infrastructure to capture and analyse data flows released by the open data revolution."

It was this think tank that authored a report last autumn calling for the greater focus of public sector resources on data analytics as a means of saving as much as £33bn. The report recommended the establishment of an 'Advanced Analytics Team' for the identification of areas that could see the greatest benefits, as well as so that departmental staff could be educated in the use of best practice tools and techniques like dashboard software.

Analysing public sector data

The more effective analysis of large volumes of data has become a greater priority for various international governments, including Australia and the US, that have achieved savings as a result of the use of technologies such as dashboard reporting software. Vice President and Country Manager for EMC UK & Ireland, James Petter, has warned that the public sector in the UK could be outpaced by the private sector in its handling and exploitation of large data volumes, adding that the maximum potential would not be realised without "clear leadership and a willingness to adopt a culture of change."

Public sector organisations are not guided by the requirement for commercial success that binds private sector organisations. Instead, the aim is to better serve citizens. However, public sector bodies will not be able to make the most of the potential of big data volumes without first addressing such basics as data privacy and the need for transparent information that is authoritative, trustworthy and actionable. The appropriate management and storage of such data is also necessary to avoid it becoming a financial burden.

Companies like Panintelligence are able to serve both public and private sector organisations in providing a better service through more effective analysis of large volumes of data with KPI software that enables more informed decisions.