Five public sector data and analytics trends

We are leaving behind a radically transformative time for public sector data and analytics and are now looking ahead to the future. Since the onset of the pandemic, many public sector organisations have accelerated their digital transformation programmes and achieved significant improvements in the maturity of organisational capabilities for digital and data.

Dora Mitter, Data Strategy & Insights Consultant at Agilisys expects public sector organisations will increasingly harness the potential of these enhanced capabilities and work with some of the most advanced technologies and analytical techniques to transform service provision and improve the lives of citizens. These are her five major data and analytics trends she expects to see the most over the next 12 months:

  1. Internet of Things

The Internet of Things (IoT) will continue to become an increasingly hot topic in the public sector. It enables organisations to connect and integrate data from various devices, or ‘things’ with sensors, and automatically apply analytics to them, reducing time to action and improving understanding of what interventions will help citizens.

Dora said, “interest in the Internet of Medical Things (IoMT) is likely to skyrocket. For example, I anticipate more significant use of personal devices such as smartwatches that collect medical data, including sleep patterns, blood pressure or ECG patterns, to enable real-time assessment of patients’ risk of health decline.”

  1. Predictive Analytics

The trend for organisations developing predictive analytical capabilities that use real-time data to inform future trends and outcomes shows no signs of abating. This year, we will see organisations using predictive analytics more systematically, not just limiting the technology to specific projects, teams, or departments.

Dora said, “I expect we will see organisations embed predictive algorithms to forecast demand and provide an evidence base to understand where and when to best deploy resources to optimise outcomes and maximise value for money. For example, in the NHS, forecasting the flux of patients through hospital wards and GP practices will help leaders be more proactive in strategic and tactical planning.”

  1. Augmented analytics

Augmented analytics will increasingly become the ‘must have’ tool to generate the insights needed for evidence-based decision-making at all levels across organisations. Powered by Machine Learning (ML) and Artificial Intelligence (AI), augmented analytics can provide real-time, easily consumable data and contextual suggestions for relevant insights.

Dora said, “augmented analytics has been gradually adopted in the public sector for a few years now. Its value will crystalise across the public sector this year, and we will see a major increase in its adoption. For example, AI-based care improvement analytics can provide local and regional governments with data-driven recommendations on the best course of action at an individual level.”

  1. Synthetic data

Synthetic data is artificially generated by computer programmes and algorithms instead of real-world events. This has the significant benefit of eradicating any personally identifiable data, meaning organisations will use it to undertake advanced analysis and enhanced simulation modelling on datasets without having to overcome data protection and information governance constraints.

Dora said, “it only seems natural that synthetic data will be more widely used in the public sector, particularly in health and social care, where much of the data held cannot be used for novel analytics under data protection laws. Synthetic data offers analysts the confidence of maintaining patient confidentiality and can be used as a baseline where no other real-world data exists yet, for example, in clinical trials and drug treatment development.”

  1. Conversational AI and Natural Language Processing

Natural Language Processing (NLP) and Conversational AI allow for quick and easy analysis of any unstructured text data to derive trends and insights invisible or hard to notice with the human eye. Therefore, unsurprisingly, these capabilities have long been on the ‘wish list’ for many organisations in the public sector.

Dora said, “We can expect such technologies to be used to monitor social media posts to proactively capture racial abuse, anti-social behaviour, etc., aid citizens in the comfort of their homes who require help with medication adherence, provide a response to frequently asked questions for council services and more.”

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