Much of the hype around big data and analytics focuses on business value and bottom-line impacts. Those are enormously important in the private and public sectors alike. But for government agencies, there is a greater mission: improving people’s lives.
Data makes the most ambitious and even idealistic goals—like making the world a better place—possible.
This is intrinsically worthwhile, but it has now been codified as part of the Federal Data Strategy and its stated mission to “fully leverage the value of federal data for mission, service, and the public good.” Making the world a better place with data is not only noble, it’s required.
This comes at a critical time for the US and the world—the global population faces complex challenges that cannot be ignored, including:
- Caring for a large, aging population that is living longer than ever: For the first time in US history, older adults are expected to outnumber children by 2034. (US Census)
- Combating climate change: The US experienced 20 different billion-dollar weather and climate disasters in 2021, the second-most in history after the record 21 billion-dollar disasters in 2020. (Climate.gov)
- Navigating growing geopolitical tensions and conflicts: Agencies operate in a time of immense complexity, from rising inflation to war in Ukraine to a vast cybersecurity threat landscape (and the recent Executive Order on Improving the Nation’s Cybersecurity).
- Adapting to new social, economic, and public health realities: The COVID-19 pandemic and other factors have had indelible impacts on how (and where) people live and work, including a significant increase in remote and hybrid work, as well as creating a renewed urgency around improving public health.
The public sector has a massive, growing asset at its disposal for tackling these and other pressing issues: data. It is central to the kinds of intelligent analysis and insights required to take swift, informed action that positively impacts people’s lives and improves the world around them
To achieve this vision, agencies must modernize and optimize how they collect, organize, manage, analyze, and act on that data—in an open manner that fosters trust and accountability with citizens, partners, and other stakeholders.
There are four fundamental attributes of this transformation that must be brought together as part of a data framework for a better world. These pillars include:
- Agility: Agencies need the tools, skills, and culture to rapidly adopt and collect new data sources, build new applications and data products, and deliver actionable insights. They cannot be asked to solve tomorrow’s problems with yesterday’s technology.
- Trust: For data to make the world a better place, people must be able to trust it. Agencies need tools and policies that balance transparency, security, privacy, and regulatory compliance. They will need to root out bias and ensure they—and their machine or algorithmic counterparts—leverage data in a manner that is equitable and ethical.
- Data-Driven Culture: The public sector must operate with a shared commitment to learning and adopting a data-driven culture in their own work—and to fostering that same data-driven culture in society at large.
- Open AI and ML Collaboration to Improve Government Services: The scope and scale of public data—and the challenges we must tackle—means that human effort and ingenuity alone won’t be enough. To accomplish the most ambitious goals—improving people’s lives—government agencies will need to increasingly rely on automation and an open AI and machine learning collaboration that bridges research and services with cutting-edge data products.
Cloudera is well-positioned to support this modern data framework for a better world. We’ve built a hybrid data platform leveraging data lakehouse, data mesh, and data fabric as post-movement tools for optimal mission performance.
That starts with harnessing the vast amounts of data in motion—structured and unstructured, and from a vast number of sources—into a single platform so that it can be utilized for the greater good. And we continuously invest in the tools and capabilities agencies need to ensure trust and transparency, from robust security protocols to data lineage to metadata and more.
You can learn more in our interactive ebook, “Data in Motion to Accelerate Your Mission.”
Together, we can use the power of data to make the world a better place.
Want to learn more? Watch Carolyn Duby’s presentation at Cloudera Government Forum.