Data Rich but Information Poor: Federal Sales Opportunities Around the Big Data Revolution
April 16, 2012 1 Comment
The last five years have seen an explosion of data generation within the federal government. Everything from expanded C4ISR capabilities, to electronic health records, to growing cybersecurity capabilities across the board are creating data growth at almost exponential rates. Perversely, even the Federal Data Center Consolidation Initiative (FDCCI) is — you guessed it — generating more data. While FDCCI is attempting to answer the question of where all that new information rests (not to mention the problem of storage costs running somewhere between three and ten times as high as data generation costs), you might be left asking another question: What, exactly, are they doing with all of it?
Well, as it turns out, the government isn’t sure themselves. As David McClure, Deputy Director of GSA’s Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technology, put it at a recent AFCEA Bethesda big data symposium, government is data rich but information poor. Especially in the new world of budgetary constraint and spending reductions, agencies are feeling the pressure to take the vast amount of information they suddenly have access to and use it to get smarter – after all, you can’t do “more with less” if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing with what you have. Participants at the symposium drove home the message that the government is looking to move toward real-time, observational intelligence; instead of creating reports and analyses after the fact, they want to crunch data as it comes in and identify trends faster.
What does that mean for the IT product community?
- The big data revolution has government customers paying attention, and, with increased pressure to deliver improved results with less money, analytics and intelligence will be critical to the government moving forward.
- While more traditional areas of data analytics and business intelligence – e.g. reporting/dashboards, visualization, ad-hoc searches etc. – will still be in demand, the real areas of growth are expected to be in forecasting, data mining, and other similar tools that can operate on a real-time basis.
- No matter who your government customer is, odds are they are dealing with more information than ever before. If you can show them how to use it better, they’re sure to listen.