MeriTalk Survey Projects $500 Billion Federal Saving from Big Data, but Agencies Lack Plans, Resources

Despite some financial problems which have arisen in connection with which came into effect on March 1 this year, the US federal agencies have significantly stepped up efforts aimed at the implementation of new solutions in the field of processing large amounts of data (Big Data) and plans to further reduce their costs through more efficient use of modern technology.

According to a new MeriTalk report, “Smarter Uncle Sam: The Big Data Forecast,” based on a survey of 150 Federal IT executives and underwritten by EMC Corporation, Big Data has the potential to increase efficiency, enabling smarter decisions, deepening insight to transform government and could save nearly $500 billion – or 14 percent of agency budgets.

Most of the respondents agree that sequestration has extremely negative impact on the further development of technologies for processing large amounts of data. Nearly 41% of respondents said that their departments corresponding budget lines have been reduced by at least 10%, with the greatest extent funding was reduced on education and training (by 51%), upgrading of equipment (48%), update software (41%) and development of new applications (by 40%).

As far as the sequestration goes, probably 50 percent of projects have been affected, the report explains. Of that 50 percent, probably 25 percent to 30 percent have experienced significant impact. Sequestration has definitely had an effect, but from my perspective it’s been somewhat beneficial.

In the process of research, MeriTalk found that about a quarter of those surveyed IT-managers are working on the introduction of at least one innovative solution in the field of processing large amounts of data.

In general, current innovations in this case relate to technologies for processing scientific data and document management, discovery and creation of electronic information to support a variety of events (eDiscovery), interpretation of monitoring radio data, fraud detection, the use of transaction data to optimize Location and method of data center consolidation.

Most innovative projects in the area of ​​Big Data are at an early stage of implementation suggesting lack of plans and resources. 31% of IT-specialists surveyed have indicated that they are working on the creation of new IT-systems for data collection, 30% – on technologies to use large amounts of information to solve specific problems and tasks, and 38% – improve the data processing system.

The report says big data is transforming government. Each agency needs to first identify how Big Data can support their mission objectives, then assess the infrastructure, the savings opportunity, and start with a pilot project. There is enormous opportunity ahead for government to apply Big and Fast Data to manage data growth, gain new insights from data, and innovate in ways that weren’t possible before due to technology limitations. It will enable agencies to be more productive, work smarter and be more agile – to keep up with the pace of change.

Big Data’s different from other IT initiatives – because it’s not an IT initiative. If assuming the same behavior and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, Big Data may provide the common-sense therapy we need to make better decisions in government.

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