Big Data in Government and Its Importance for Policy Making
Learn why Big Data analysis for policy making is gaining momentum. Check out some of the challenges & opportunities for government use of Big Data.
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Estimated reading time: 7 minutes
The modern world is now accustomed to a data-driven lifestyle, and it’s no surprise that policymakers all over the world show a deep interest in transforming their policymaking processes through Big Data analysis. The advancement of Big Data technology has brought changes with great potential for innovation, economic growth, productivity, and policymaking in spheres like healthcare, education, culture, taxation, etc.
How Can Big Data Revolutionize Policymaking by Governments?
Extensive administrative data — like healthcare records, social programs, tax systems, and more — are gathered at various governmental levels. This data is supplemented with social media input, cameras, and sensors. Thus, new-age Big Data technology allows you to gather vast amounts of national and international data and process it in real-time, operating in a sort of feedback cycle.
Top-notch analytics allows you to make information accessible, accurate, sophisticated, and ready to integrate for your specific purposes. However, at present, it’s not enough to simply collect voluminous data — you need an efficient talent pool with profound knowledge to extract actionable insights from it. Researchers from different countries have already experimented with large-scale administrative data to measure and compare certain variables (incomes, spending, productivity levels, etc.) across small population groups. The results have helped guide research and policies in multiple economic subfields. In such a way, Big-Data-driven governing can equip nations with better decisions without compromising their overall quality. However, it’s vital to remember the so-called data culture and regulatory frameworks that determine how Big Data should be collected, used, and shared.
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Vital Factors to Consider Before Using Big Data for Policymaking
1. The public’s viewpoint
People are involved in multiple daily activities that require communication in social media, extensive use of the internet, credit card payments, and much more. A lot of valuable information is generated through these activities, revealing great opportunities for the government to gather and use data for community advantage. It’s vital to keep in mind that personal data collection should include public acceptance and awareness.
2. Data Ownership
3. The probable consequences of data-driven policymaking
Government policies can only be beneficial when based on correct, accurate, and up-to-date information. That’s where Big Data offers a broader map from which to work. However, the quality of information and the due data analysis for policy making are of vital importance — otherwise, outcomes might fail to be as beneficial as expected.
What Drives Global Policymaking toward Big Data
There are certain factors driving the policymaking process toward the technology of Big Data, including:
1. Fast data collection
With cutting-edge algorithms and advanced hardware, the opportunities for web data extraction and analysis become almost open-ended. Ordinary methods of web data analysis can’t compete with Big Data scraping and processing at scale, which is why governments are driven more and more toward Big Data.
2. Data volume
The very term Big Data makes it clear that its power lies in the massive amount of organized information available for integration into variable processes. Thus, Big Data in government allows access, much-needed security, and systematic processing of up-to-date information for policymaking.
3. Diversity of data collected
Big Data offers two aspects of diversity — the broader scope of information in various spheres and sectors, and multiple formats of data fetched: texts, pictures, audio, video, etc. These factors combined to increase the value of data and make its analysis easier.
The Benefits of Big Data in Government Policymaking
The progressive characteristics of Big Data are not the only option for empowering the policymaking process. We are now going to answer the questions “How does the Government use Big Data?” and “What are the possible impacts?”
1. Getting competent answers to important questions
The success of any sphere or policy is determined by actions made in response to the following vital questions:
- What do people really want?
- Which sectors need immediate improvements?
- What does the national economy lack?
Big data provides governments with quality information from all different sectors and industries, facilitating an efficient decision-making process to improve the situation and the policies implemented.
2. Centralized data system creation
Big Data allows governments all over the world to create centralized systems of collected information and improve the accessibility and security of data.
Such a system can facilitate much more organized activities in policymaking and, consequently, greater efficiency.
3. Data validation before taking action
Big Data allows much faster validation of details; this means that the credibility of collected and processed data will increase due to the advanced technologies implemented. As a result, it will help make well-versed decisions that will support better policies.
4. More confidence about policies
The importance of data in policymaking is already clear. Now, we should mention that when data is validated effectively, it becomes more accurate, and authorities are more confident in its completeness, consistency, and credibility. This inevitably reduces the risk of mistakes and influences the consequences of decisions made. So, the government can avoid many issues without worrying about potential negative outcomes.
5. Empowering all sectors
At present, one can observe digital growth in all sectors of the modern environment — individuals, as well as businesses and organizations, are moving toward Big Data. It’s clear that by using the same approaches, technologies, and methods in policymaking, authorities can make optimized and informed decisions.
6. Data-driven governance
Since the public desires better leadership, security, and a well-organized lifestyle, all these factors depend on governmental efficiency. Big Data offers efficiency to governmental bodies, thereby creating a culture of data-driven administration. Data-driven policies will inevitably result in better success rates and outcomes.
Opportunities Revealed to Governments through Big Data
The technology of Big Data aids in matching and linking related yet heterogeneous fragments of data. This makes it easier to spot hidden patterns and correlations contained in the flow of information. Predictive analytics should be applied to scenario planning, which later results in evidence-based policymaking. BDA helps analyze multifaceted data sources, deduct repeated patterns, and detect areas of under-help.
The gap between policy science and technological advancement should not be underestimated, so much attention should be paid to the development of Big Data and analytics ecosystems to support the usage of information for the public sector. At the same time, the use of Big Data technology should go hand in hand with data protection and privacy measures to guarantee personal data security. Socially beneficial usage of Big Data should in no way cause harm to its privacy and personal values. The task of any government that enforces Big Data for policymaking is to provide an efficient system of checks and balances, as well as responsible leadership and strong ethics. By harnessing technological innovations, the government will see more possibilities when including the public in the process of policy making; however, the wisdom of the audience should still provide clarity and a common objective.
Importance of Policy Making Based on Big Data in Figures
At present, some governments have already introduced Big Data solutions to improve their performance and productivity. Those of the UK, USA, Korea, and Singapore are among them.
According to the United Kingdom’s Digital Government Unit, the state can annually save up to $41 billion through BDA implementation. This tremendous figure comprises improved taxation, reduced error and fraud, and consequent efficiency gains. The EU’s administrative costs can be reduced by $223-446 billion, which makes up nearly 20% of the current expenses.
FAQ about the Importance of Data in Policy Making
How does the government use big data?
The study and analysis of big data help governments make decisions in areas such as healthcare, employment, economic regulation, crime and security, and emergency response.
What are government big data use cases?
An example of governmental use of big data is a comprehensive analysis of big data collected from 130,213 news articles from 719 news sources related to the 2012 US presidential election revealed the strategy behind Obama's victory.
How the government collects big data?
Government organizations that deal with big data collect it from such sources: as administrative agencies, medical statistics, social program records, and tax statistics data. This data is also supplemented with information from social networks, surveillance cameras, and sensors.
The continuous shift toward digital technologies reveals groundbreaking opportunities for modern politics. It is now vital to realize the importance of Big Data in policy making and act accordingly, developing new strategies, tools, and forms of engagement for a better understanding of modern dynamic forces. Modern governments should also strengthen technical and legal frameworks to access and use information responsibly, encouraging best practices and putting gained insights into action through transparent algorithms and effective mechanisms of accountability. Data should be seen as an asset that can facilitate the shift from process orientation to performance orientation. Web data scraping combined with BDA can help gain this asset quickly and effectively. To learn more about the process, schedule a free consultation with our expert.
Publishing date: Sun Apr 23 2023
Last update date: Wed Apr 19 2023