Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle? - InformationWeek
Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle?
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Bill Sullivan
Bill Sullivan,
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2012 | 8:40:26 PM
re: Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle?
The criticism leveled at government's efforts to address Big Data appear to miss the mark slightly. Government is not one industry, but in reality all commercial verticals rolled in to one market. Therefore asking different agencies to "integrate functions" is analogous to asking an airline (eg. DOD) to match its business processes to those of a bank (Treasury) to gain economies of scale. Where to start?

Unlike the commercial sector which seeks to harness Big Data for competitive advantage, government's efforts to address Big Data represent an effort by the Public Sector at all levels to restructure itself according to the needs of the tax payer. In principal it is far more aggressive -- and more likely to succeed -- than efforts to "Re-Invent Government" years ago.

Admittedly, as Mr. Henschen makes clear, the policy challenges are always the most difficult, yet the Big Data technology now allows such restructuring to occur and by better defining how government interacts with the citizen affords policy makers a quantitative validation for their decisions on structure. While the conference may have been largely silent on Data Center Consolidation, this process is proof of government's drive to consolidate, and Big Data can be used to more effectively consolidate functions, systems and programs. The validation provided by Big Data is necessary as such changes must be accepted at the political and legislative level - an area not always open to logic.
Mark Montgomery
Mark Montgomery,
User Rank: Strategist
4/3/2012 | 7:59:09 PM
re: Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle?
Data sharing has improved but compared to what? For example, while the macro dollars announced is a headline catcher and could well produce some big wins if invested in independent high risk areas where the private sector won't go due to disruptive risk, the lack of efficiency and competitive functionality is stunning relative to the new global stage. Indeed it was painfully obvious in watching the video how archaic our R&D system has become -- it really hasn't changed much since the post WW2 era while the rest of the world has charged full speed ahead.

For decades these institutions were the only game in town. Today a dozen companies will invest more than this amount individually and collectively frankly they are investing far more and arguably more efficiently in preventing new innovation than the government is investing in next gen innovation. I was saddened by watching the video.

We are decades late in reforming our entire R&D structure in the U.S. -- I hope it isn't too late but I increasingly fear it is--especially after reviewing this video. It may not even be relevant given the current global nature, size and structure of the IT industry cluster.
User Rank: Apprentice
4/3/2012 | 5:29:32 PM
re: Big Data Initiative Or Big Government Boondoggle?
Actually, the Federal government has been using Big Data to save money for some time now. For example, several agencies use Oversight Systems' Continuous Transaction Analysis solutions to analyze financial transactions as the are executed. As a result, these agencies can stop improper or duplicate payments, ensure fund balance with Treasury, ensure grants are properly directed and managed, and establish audit assurance. It's not as sexy as NASA research or anti-terrorism, but it's saving taxpayers billions of dollars per year. At the very least, these applications show that Big Data can deliver an immediate benefit.

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