• Three principles to improve public services with big data

        • New analysis from cross-party think tank, Demos, has revealed the potential, and limitations, of using big data to transform public services and private sector operations.

          Using visualisation tools or ‘dashboards’ to make data intelligible to the non-technically trained, provides an opportunity to build more efficient and data-driven services and operations, in the public and private sector. In recent years the Government Digital Services team has been rolling these out across departments, with over 800 built so far.

          These have massive potential to help local and national government operate more efficiently and responsively, but can frequently be poorly implemented. ‘Off the shelf’ programmes can be prone to bias users towards short-term operational issues, rather than longer-term issues, and frequently staff do not have the skills needed to operate them effectively, or fail to ‘buy in’ to the change in operations.

          In a new Demos paper, the risks of poor ‘data dashboard’ implementation are identified, along with solutions to overcome these challenges.

          The three principles identified that should shape any government use of data dashboards are:

          1.      Identify purpose and use: Dashboards are a generic response to collect, analyse and act on large data sets. In and of themselves, they are not necessarily the best way to understand all problems, and must be carefully designed to match real organisational needs. Once the purpose has been identified, it must be communicated clearly to its designers as well as its intended users.

          2.      Understand limitations: Dashboards have the potential to mislead as well as inform. By their nature, dashboards leave out more than they include: usually with the user not knowing how the data presented was created. Users can be blinded by large numbers or have insufficient understanding of the strengths and weaknesses of the data they are using.

          3.      Select the right staff and skills: Just because they are designed to be user-friendly, it is dangerous to assume users will intuitively understand how to use them. To maximise the take-up rate among staff, they will need to be provided with training to understand the dashboard’s purpose, where the data is drawn from and the way that it is framed.

          Organisations will also need to appreciate the danger of ‘off the shelf’ models. Government or private bodies will have to choose between using a commercial provider or designing something bespoke. While bespoke dashboards allow for more flexibility and more tailored design, as well as often being cheaper, pre-existing dashboards will often be easier to learn to use, supported with external training courses, and so are often better suited for organisations with high staff turnover.

          With the public increasingly concerned about the privacy of their personal data, having a clear purpose for any data dashboard should also guard against “mission creep” and make sure these large, secure data sets are only used for their original, intended use.

        • Stay up to date - Click here and register for FREE OEN online membership and enjoy unlimited access to a host of benefits including the exclusive members area of the website, downloadable business tools, current and back issues archive, priority breaking news alerts, weekly e news summary and the OEN app

        • Related Articles

        • Retailers still too complacent about digital transformation

          Retailers still too complacent about digital transformation

          Tuesday 20th Jul 2021 by clareb
          New research has revealed that the retail industry is dangerously underestimating the role that technology will play in building a sustainable operation that can thrive in the face of future pandemics, climate crises, and economic and political insta...Read More...
          UK workers hesitant to return to the office

          UK workers hesitant to return to the office

          Monday 19th Jul 2021 by clareb
          New research commissioned by Chargifi has revealed that despite restrictions being lifted, office workers in the UK are resistant to a full-time office return. The survey of 1,500 UK and US office workers found that over half of British workers...Read More...
          Hybrid working - don’t fake it to make it

          Hybrid working - don’t fake it to make it

          Wednesday 7th Jul 2021 by clareb
          Hybrid working should be viewed as one positive outcome of the pandemic, an opportunity for companies to revolutionise working practices and empower employees to improve their work-life balance.  Dan Harding, CEO, Sign In App explains...Read More...
                • About Us

                  OEN is the leading source of business news and information for buyers of office equipment, supplies and services within mid tier and up sized organisations. Our multi-platform approach delivers relevant, engaging and focussed content via our main printed magazine, bespoke guides and supplements, website, digital editions, apps, and newsletters with an unrivalled reach across the industry. A highly trusted and respected brand for many years, the print version of OEN last year celebrated its Diamond anniversary.

                  For our latest Media packs and more details on our range of services click here

                • View Latest Issue