Big data isn’t just a question of combing through archives to find the ‘needle in the haystack’ anymore. Private sector organizations and federal agencies are learning that a big part of making data-based decisions is about the information readily available in a format that provides actionable intelligence. New technology allows agencies to move faster on the rapid decisions requiring at-the-ready information and analysis of actionable data. But challenges remain, and those agencies struggling to streamline data into a format that facilitates ready analysis can look to those who have already made strides in this new landscape.
Software AG Government Services recently sponsored a NextGov viewcast “Using Actionable Analytics to Improve Business Decisions” featuring Alissa Johnson,Deputy CIO, Office of Administration Executive Office of the President and Lt. Col. Bobby Saxon,Division Chief & Program Director, US Army G-3/5/7. These leaders in the federal technology space provided insights into the ways their agencies are using analytics to improve business decisions. Camille Tuutti,Executive Editor, NextGov moderated the discussion.
Tuutti started by asking panelists how agencies can get to the actionable and relevant information that big data can provide.
Johnson used the example of petitions.whitehouse.gov to illustrate how big data insights can be used to influence business actions. Each year, special interest groups, congressional groups and millions of individual citizens use Petiions.gov to raise awareness and support of issues that matter most to them. Not only does the platform allow citizens to view petitions, the number of total signatures for each and, if available, the White House’s response, but government officials can make use of that data as well. More specifically, the data has assisted political candidates looking for actionable insights. Petitions.whitehouse.gov offers candidates in states gathering data from citizens in their area a means to tailor messages to match the concerns of their constituency.
Saxon shared that one of the Army’s biggest challenges is accessing data from multiple IT systems across multiple data providers. He shared how they developed a strategy to pull the data from those many systems into one platform, which then enabled them to use data visualization to help stakeholders understand and analyze the raw data. In addition to just compiling the data from those disparate systems into one platform, another goal was to create the opportunity for discovery. Saxon pointed out that once you connect the dots of big data, insights can be realized which can then be utilized in predictive analytics for other endeavors.
Tuutti went on to ask Johnson and Saxon other questions about using actionable analytics to improve business decisions, including challenges they faced with regard to big data analytics. Saxon even shared how selfies are part of big data!
To hear more insights about how the Army and the White House are using big data analytics, watch the viewcast here. (Registration is required, but the viewcast is free and available on-demand.) And stay tuned for a follow-up post about Bill Lochten’s segment that followed the Johnson and Saxon viewcast.