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Data Analytics to be the bricks and stones for building a resilient and future-ready government

Participants of the OpenGovLive! Virtual Breakfast Insight: Powering Smarter Data and Resilient Government with Advanced Analytics

In its endeavour to explore and understand how governments around the world are tackling the pandemic, OpenGov Asia organised another Virtual Breakfast Insight.

The session was held on 24th July 2020 with public sector agencies in Singapore to understand how the have adapted to these unexpected times.

Singapore’s government has been driving the adoption of digital and smart technologies throughout the city state as a part of its Smart Nation initiative well before COVID-19 hit the world.

Keeping up with the trend of the series, the session saw a 100% from public sector executives in Singapore.

The session was opened by Mohit Sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia.

Mohit: Governments need to plan for a secure and better future for its citizens

Mohit emphasised the critical role that governments are playing at this point and the enormous amount of data they are producing in this process.

In the digital era, data is unequivocally the new currency; so, it is very important to understand how this data is managed.

Apart from responding to the current situation and recovering from it, governments also have to plan for a secure future.

Mohit advised the audience to also look at the opportunity in crises and collaborate with partners who have a similar vison, who are adding value to their organisations.

After the opening, Remco den Heijer, Vice President, ASEAN, SAS, addressed the audience. He began by briefly introducing his organisation and its mission of improving lives by making better decisions.

Better decision making is done by providing organisations with software that helps manage their Data and Analytics.

Remco: Our mission is to improve lives by making better decisions

Remco shared interesting examples of ways data and real time analytics stream helped governments and public to stay updated with the developments in the world during the last 4 months.

As per his observation, he felt that governments all around the world are tackling the COVID 19 pandemic in a phased approach that rested on 3 basic pillars:

  • Respond
  • Recover
  • Reimagine

He concluded by highlighting the vital role of Data and Analytics tools in helping governments reimagine the world post the pandemic and emerge stronger and better able to meet the needs of our citizens.

Joseph: Quick and easy deployment of Data and Analytics is vital for governments

Joseph Musolino, Global Sales and Strategy Consultant, Fraud Security Intelligence, SAS then shared his insights.

He appreciated countries like Singapore that are at a relatively mature stage in their digital transformation journey. For these countries, adopting AI and Analytics is not the challenge. For them the challenge is to deploy it fast and make it more effective.

Joseph opined that the focus for these countries should now be to take AI and Analytics to enterprises and make it faster and easier to deploy.

He highlighted some of the areas where governments are currently deploying advance analytics to strengthen their delivery mechanisms.

They include – Customs, Pandemics, Medical, Taxation and Judicial systems.

In order to give the audience a detailed understanding of how exactly the theory plays out, he demonstrated real life situations where analytics helped government serve citizens better.

He concluded by informing the delegates about their new platform which is a step forward into the next-gen analytics.

Jeanne: Important to have an integrated approach when engaging with Open Data and Technology

After these rich insights, Jeanne Holm, Chief Data Officer and Senior Technology advisor to the mayor of City of Los Angeles took the virtual stage.

Jeanne shared first-hand account of how governments can use predictive data analytics during critical times and also for operations in general.

She explained that that the administration in LA is using advance analytics for two major purposes.

  • observing data real time for city management
  • predictive analytics that echoes with the before mentioned recovery and to reimagine the city

The LA mayor’s office uses integrated data sets from different sources to have an overall view and make better informed decisions.

Communication of this information to the people is also a major priority of the office and they utilise technology to enable that.

Jeanne shared some of the technology driven initiatives by the LA government that are serving people better during the pandemic hit and in the future. They are:

  1. Angeleno App: This app is a single way that allows people to access any city service and make e- payment for it.
  2. Shake Alert LA: This is a warning system that helps send out e- signals out quickly during an earthquake and also informs them of the magnitude and intensity of it.
  3. Augmented reality public parks games: that let LA residents, especially younger kids visit zoos and park virtually and learn from them while being safe.
  4. Predicting what we breath: This is a program that uses machine learning to understand urban air quality using satellite and ground data.
  5. Autonomous piloting on slow streets: This program enables safe autopiloting on certain streets that have less traffic. This is determined from real time satellite and ground data.
  6. Data Science federation: Open Data and Technology is a team sport. It is important that all the people in this eco system are working towards the same goals. This is exactly what this federation does, collaborates governments and educational institutions working on technology.

After Jeanne’s presentation the session took a more interactive form with the polling questions for the audience.

On the question of how the COVID-19 pandemic changed the way their department/agency functions, major part of the audience voted for “more reliant on social/communication technology” (42%).

On the next question of which of the capabilities will be most useful if a situation like COVID-19 occurred in the future, a majority of participants voted for “better understanding of critical operational processes and human capital required to keep government and healthcare operations running during the lockdown” (52%).

The session also featured a demonstration of a SAS knowledge management solution that stores and catalogues information about the analytical assets of an organisation.

This demonstration helped the audience better understand how easy and useful it is to actually use these applications and the ways in which it can make their functioning more effective.

To give a context to solution demonstration, Mohit put up few questions for the audience which brought out some interesting findings.

On the question of what the typical challenge in is starting a data science project, the audience were split between “lack of understanding on the available data asset” (31%) and “lack of collaborative environment to support team effort” (36%).

The chief data officer from a government agency reflected that technology is rarely an issue when it comes to implementing data science projects. The challenge is more to do with the organisation culture. Traditionally, people look at data as a mere record that needs to be stored. They do not understand that effective data management can help them solve several their routine problems.

There is an urgent need to make data literacy a part the organisation’s culture and make people realise the potential of data.

The session concluded with closing remarks by Joseph. He expressed gratitude to all the attendees and for them sharing their thoughts and experiences.

The well aligned content throughout the session will go a long way to encourage the delegates to utilise Data and Analytics in their workings.

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