There is no denying the benefits of applying a data-centric approach to government operations. Using data to create insights that drive decisions, processes and services offers an opportunity to deliver better outcomes for citizens while achieving greater efficiency and more targeted allocation of resources.
Today, many public entities have more data at their fingertips than ever before as the delivery of numerous government services moved to digital channels during the COVID-19 pandemic. The unprecedented amount of data, and vastly improved computer processing power, means they can extract insights that were impossible before.
The pandemic has also spurred governments to innovate in their use of data. Several countries saw rapid advances in the quality of vital national data sets, and others deployed new technology to assist with public health decision-making. For example, Austria, Canada, South Korea and Latvia linked COVID-19-related data to other characteristics, such as demographic and socioeconomic status, allowing for more granular needs analyses. Reforms were also enacted to facilitate data sharing during this time. Italy, for example, adopted emergency regulations allowing for the collection and sharing of personal data.
The challenge now lies in how to capitalize on this information going forward — from collecting, storing and analyzing it, to ultimately integrating insights into programs that have the potential to make a significant impact on people’s lives.
To better understand the opportunities and challenges around the use of data in the public sphere, as well as the practical next steps governments can take to progress their data journey, 150 senior government officials from 18 different countries were surveyed as part of the EY 2022 Tech Horizon research. This work was part of the larger EY Tech Horizon annual survey that develops critical insights for global organizations navigating an ever-changing technology landscape.
We learned that, despite the obstacles, the potential benefits offered by a data-centric approach are simply too great for governments to ignore. In this article, we take a close look at the specifics around how and why governments are moving toward data centricity, and outline six key actions that can help organizations achieve their data goals.