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Improving Citizen Services with Data-Driven Technologies

Due to the complexities of the modern world, traditional ways of delivering public services are no longer sufficient to meet the needs of today’s citizens. By leveraging data analytics, artificial intelligence, and other data-driven technologies, governments can improve the quality, efficiency, and effectiveness of their citizen services. In this article, we will explore how data-driven technologies are transforming public services, discuss roadblocks to implementation, and share how modern data platforms can support digital transformation initiatives.

How Big Data Is Improving Citizen Services 

In recent years, there has been an exponential increase in the amount of data created and collected by governments. Thanks to advances in big data technologies, governments now have the ability to analyze and make use of this data to improve the quality, timeliness, and efficiency of the services they provide to their citizens. Here are six examples of how governments are using big data to improve their services.

Determining eligibility for social services

By analyzing data from numerous sources, governments can identify individuals most likely to be eligible for services, targeting them for outreach to ensure they’re aware of available support service programs. 

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Improving service quality

One of the most important indicators of government services’ success is citizen feedback. When combined with performance monitoring data, feedback enables governments to make data-driven decisions about how to improve services and ensure that they are meeting the needs of their constituents.

Enhanced fraud prevention

Fraud is much easier to spot when all relevant data is viewed as a whole. Data analytics can help governments spot patterns and anomalies in large sets of data that may point to fraudulent activity. For example, unified data from multiple sources such as tax returns, benefits applications, and Social Security payments can be used to identify whether individuals applying for benefits are entitled to them.

Identity resolution

Identity resolution is an understanding of who is accessing services across multiple platforms and determining relationships. For example, if one program is dependent on another, how is the citizen experience streamlined so they don't need to apply twice? They may be leveraging their full name, a previous address, etc., so by understanding their unique identity you can better understand their behavior.

Better decision-making

Big data can help governments develop policies that are better aligned with the needs of their citizens. By analyzing data related to constituent preferences, behavior, and needs, governments can create more effective policies that allocate resources to where they’re most needed. In addition, real-time monitoring of data sources such as social media and news outlets can inform leaders of emerging issues citizens are discussing, helping them proactively address concerns with effective policies and additional allocation of government resources. 

More accurate prediction of future needs

Predictive analytics can help governments determine the level of social services likely to be required in the future, facilitating more accurate allocation and positioning resources to address future needs.

Barriers to Data Sharing

Data sharing plays an important role in facilitating the provision of citizen services. Sharing data can lead to better decision-making, improved innovation, and increased efficiency. But often, important data collected by one agency isn’t made available to others, even when it is highly relevant. Several barriers to data sharing prevent this free flow of information. 

Fragmented data systems

Government agencies collect a wealth of actionable data. But decades of growth have left this data scattered across a patchwork of on-premises legacy systems and isolated cloud implementations. This fragmented data landscape has made it difficult to access, share, and interpret data in meaningful ways.

Outdated infrastructure

Many governmental data storage and analytics solutions have grown organically over time, resulting in a complex web of systems that require significant IT resources to support and maintain. In addition, exponential growth in the creation, use, and storage of data has placed a heavy burden on legacy compute and storage capacity, creating storage and resource contention issues that  inhibit the modernization of citizen services. 

Data privacy concerns

Government agencies generate, collect, and use massive amounts of highly sensitive data, often without adequate data security protections in place. This leaves them unnecessarily exposed to cyberattacks and data breaches. 

Organizational culture 

Many organizations, government entities included, operate in isolation. This compartmentalized culture, where individual teams work separately, can drag down modernization initiatives since there’s no existing process for collaborating. Government agencies are often wary of sharing their data with other public entities for fear of breaching confidentiality. But as the value of data grows, the need to safely share data has increased substantially.

How Data Platforms Facilitate High-Quality Citizen Services

Modern data platforms allow governments to collect, store, analyze, and share data at scale. Governments can use their data to better understand citizen needs, identify areas for improvement, and make more informed decisions about resource allocation. It also helps the overall citizen experience (CX) when legislators or policymakers can make data-driven decisions on what would best benefit citizens. Here are five ways modern data platforms support digital transformation.

Facilitates fast, secure data sharing

Centralizing data warehouses, data marts, and data lakes into a single source of truth enables government agencies to instantly and securely share governed data across the organization and with external partners, such as other departments or levels of government, without having to copy or move data.

Greater system resiliency 

The provision of citizen services depends on government data being available when needed. Data platforms such as Snowflake replicate data across multiple regions and

clouds to guarantee instant access and recovery for databases of any size, anywhere in the world. 

Easily scalable to support future growth

As populations increase, the scale of citizen services will grow. Government solutions must support large numbers of concurrent users and massive amounts of on-demand data storage and processing capacity. Modern data platforms provide near-instant and virtually unlimited scalability with dedicated compute resources capable of adjusting automatically or on the fly. This enables government agencies to accommodate growth, providing the capacity required to handle governmental-scale workloads and applications, including data engineering, data warehousing, data science, and data sharing, both now and in the future.

Robust data security and governance standards

Modern data platforms such as Snowflake have robust data security features engineered into the systems themselves. With an emphasis on encryption, access control, data storage, and physical infrastructure in conjunction with comprehensive monitoring, alerts, and industry-leading cybersecurity practices, cloud data platforms can protect the sensitive data governments collect. 

More efficient use of taxpayer funds

Data platforms include a fully managed service layer that streamlines tasks such as authenticating user sessions, managing resources, enforcing comprehensive security measures, compiling queries, and enabling data governance. Relieved of the burden of managing data infrastructure, government agencies can redirect IT resources to strategic projects that enhance the quality of citizen services. In addition, cloud systems are easily scalable, with pricing based on current storage and computing resource use, eliminating the need to spend taxpayer dollars on unused capacity. 

Improving Citizen Services with Snowflake

The Snowflake Data Cloud is a simple, powerful, and flexible platform that allows governments to provide higher-quality citizen services. Snowflake makes it possible to treat data as a strategic asset. It serves as a unified cloud repository, enabling a single source of truth that makes it easy to analyze and share data externally as part of a broad cloud ecosystem. By accelerating cloud migration, governments can share data securely and seamlessly, and ensure data governance for improved resiliency and enhanced mission outcomes.