Can My Legacy System Chat With Your Legacy System?

“Let’s make this an obsolete question [of big data],” exclaimed Stephen Goldsmith, both a Daniel Paul Professor of the Practice of Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Director of the Innovations of the American Government Program.

Because honestly, why shouldn’t our legacy systems get to talk to one another?

Frustrations chatted in the hallways of government agencies on How Government Can Deal with Big Data, just so happened to be our fourth session in GovLoop’s Fourth Annual Government Innovators Virtual Summit. It was inside the virtual world that our three panelists discussed big data in action, while also sharing common themes, opportunities, and best practices on innovative technological tools inside and across government systems.

So, you’ve gone paperless, good for you. But do you know how to vertically produce information across public and private sectors? Better yet, do you know how to get information in the hands of citizens themselves? Goldsmith shared the secret to this success in our training, which you can view here.

Data mining. Yes, the biggest change of them all happens to be the most boring, explained Goldsmith. But data mining happens to provide the public value and overlap between enterprises that the digital community is looking for, and with that combination and the use of predictive analytical tools, you can discover the root cause analysis, increase accountability, and improve operational management.

“As someone who’s been in government for 30 years, there has not been a time more optimistic in change because of tools that are made available now,” said Goldsmith.

So far, you’ve learned that innovation and big data go hand-in-hand, but how do you get the ball rolling? That takes us to Goldsmith’s second tip: Find a leader who:

  • Gives employees more discretion.
  • Is willing to encourage innovation and risk taking, and then defend his or her employees.
  • Demands their agency to share information.
  • Measures attitudes and not outcomes.

Know someone like that?

How about someone who knows how to find the common dominator of data to get the value out of it? Enters Kevin Morgan, Senior Technical Director at MarkLogic.

Morgan shared MarkLogic’s Big Data Formula: Volume + Variety +Velocity of data.

What’s unique about MarkLogic and their take on big data is that they provide the long-term archiving solutions needed to tier your agency’s storage down to give the flexibility needed to address different requirements.

The archiving solution Morgan shared was Enterprise NoSQL, a more document-centric approach that allows agencies to be “schema-agnostic”— saying goodbye to the long process of addressing schema to fit new mission requirements. If this is sounding too good to be true, and Fairfax County of the state of Virginia defeated challenges like high volume and multiple systems to create a single data platform using the MarkLogic tool.

But what about data outside of the typical government issues? Let’s ask the real question of the future, “how do we increase student achievement”? Anthony Fung, Deputy Secretary of Technology of the Commonwealth of Virginia, answered this question.

Fung shared the shocking statistics that by the year 2018, 65% of jobs will require postsecondary education or training. He then went into detail of what the state of Virginia is doing to prepare their students.

VLSDS – the Virginia Longitude Data System – links data across grades K-12 to help the state identify trends, innovations, and areas of improvement to answer the question of the future.

If you’re wondering if in terms of student achievement, does the diploma type matter, the answer is yes! If you’re also wondering does combining advanced studies diplomas with Career and Technology Educational (CTE) programs give students edge, the answer is also yes!

But, you’re probably wondering other things like how to get around HIPPA and other legislative policies to share amongst agencies. Fung expressed looking at different ways of asking questions to get rid of the culture of “no way we can share that data”. Fung suggests sending all available information over to the data owner so they can provide a confirmation of yes or no. Outside of being innovative, culture and transparency is key to working with big data, whether in the educational sector or across government agencies.

Missed the live show? Check out the on-demand version here.


Leave a Comment

Leave a comment

Leave a Reply