by Rebecca Merrett

AGIMO releases big data strategy

Aug 05, 20133 mins
Big DataGovernment

The Australian Government Information Management Office (AGIMO) claims it will use big data analytics to more accurately predict policy outcomes before they are implemented and improve the targeting of key services for citizens.

AGIMO has released its big data strategy, a paper that looks at the productivity benefits of big data analytics.

As an example, the strategy paper cited a report from the McKinsey Global Institute which estimates that big data in Europe’s public sector could potentially reduce administrative costs by 15 to 20 per cent, with savings of €150 billion to €300 billion.

Australian government agencies alone have rolled out an additional 93,000 terabytes of storage between 2008 and 2012 to cope with increasing data production, according to the Australian Government ICT Expenditure Report 2008-09 to 2011-12.

According to the government’s strategy paper, decision makers will start analysing this information to “model different policy options and more accurately predict the outcomes of policies before they are implemented and use this information to inform and improve the policy development process”.

Analysing big data sets will also help the government improve the targeting of citizen services – in accordance with the Privacy Act and other relevant legislation – by helping agencies to “better manage and prevent over-servicing whilst ensuring that people are not missing out on any services to which they may be entitled and of which they might be unaware”, the strategy paper said.

Building skills through government agencies working collaboratively on big data pilot projects is also part of the strategy. The government said it intends to work more collaboratively with industry sectors in sharing big data expertise and knowledge.

“Many observers have noted that there is currently a major skills gap for data scientists with experience in big data analytics.

“The industry, research and academic sectors have been working on big data analytics projects for some time and continue to invest heavily in the skills, technologies and techniques involved with big data analysis.

“Government will work with these sectors by leveraging and sharing expertise in big data analytics and related fields, and will also work with these sectors to promote the continued development of skills in this area of increasing demand.”

All big data projects undertaken by government agencies will incorporate privacy by design throughout the entire project lifecycle, according to the strategy paper. Also, agencies will be encouraged to conduct Privacy Impact Assessments (PIA) for new big data projects.

The Big Data Working Group will work in conjunction with the the Australian Tax Office’s Data Analytics Centre of Excellence (DACoE) to deliver on a set of guides and initiatives to help government agencies to take advantage of big data.

These include:

  • A big data practice guide – due in March 2014
  • A report on the barriers to big data analytics – due July 2014
  • Pilot projects to build skills and experience in big data analysis – due July 2014
  • A responsible data analytics guide – due July 2014

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