How Government Agencies Harness Big Data

Data has transformed the way business operates. Our always-on, always-connected economy results in a continuous stream of information about customer behaviors. There is so much data generated today; these massive data sets are called "big data.

Big data can help organizations make meaningful decisions faster. How? Analytics. An enormous volume of data isn't helpful until you start analyzing and looking for insights, trends, correlations, and patterns. Intelligence derived from this analysis can enable organizations to better understand their supply chain, distribution network, customer preferences, and even predict the future. 

Government agencies are also harnessing big data to detect fraud, improve oversight, better understand national health, anticipate natural disasters, and prevent crime. 

Cost Savings

One advantage of big data in government is a more effective application of resources, both human and financial. Using big data as a tool in fraud prevention efforts is helping to reduce payouts previously made to scam accounts or ineligible recipients for Social Security, as an example. Disability claims can be reviewed through data analytics to deny falsified applications. The Securities Exchange Commission also uses data trends to pick out exceptions, which can point to insider or unlawful trading.

An agency every adult is familiar with is the IRS, responsible for handling the millions of tax returns submitted yearly. Identity theft and its use in refund fraud has risen sharply over the past few years. The agency now uses a more comprehensive screening process to help weed out improper claims as well as protect their systems from infiltration. As a result, less money is paid out to cybercriminals, and legitimate taxpayers are better protected. Automating fraud detection and prevention tasks remove the possibility of human error when considering such a large volume of transactions or files that require review.

Big Data in Healthcare

Many exciting developments in the health industry come courtesy of the big data phenomenon. Consider the FDA's newfound ability to use analytics to manage epidemics. Faster, more accurate intelligence reduces the time it takes to contain an outbreak and prevent deaths. For recalls, the FDA can shorten the time it takes to notify consumers, which lowers healthcare expenses and curtails the further spread of the problem.

The Veterans Health Administration is another important beneficiary of big data applied to healthcare. A noteworthy percentage of veterans suffer from cancer. By working with other organizations to share big data insights and look for trends, the VA aims to detect cancer earlier and provide better treatment.   

In both the government sector and private healthcare, data models are now able to use historical data to predict an impending health crisis. By alerting the patient's care team when these patterns are detected, a catastrophe may be averted through appropriate treatment. Additionally, wearable devices may be used on real patients to notify physicians and providers if trouble is brewing.

Enhancing Security

Possibly the most critical impact contributed by big data is the improvement to security across the government. Data analytics can parse video surveillance and facial recognition databases to both prevent incidents and pursue suspects for arrest and prosecution. The manual review of footage for potential facial matches is a time-intensive task that is compromised by even error. Digital analysis conducted in near real-time, highly accurate, and efficient. The U.S. Homeland Security leverages these tools and is far more capable of protecting our country and residents.

Big data is a powerful asset. Organizations have the ability to choose where it is applied and how the data is handled. From saving money to protecting the country and improving patient care, the benefits are immeasurable.

For more information on using data across both government and private sector organizations, contact BlackPoint IT Services today.