Who’s Afraid of the Big, Bad Data?

We are all familiar of the story of the three little pigs. Each pig built his different house to the best of his abilities – one with hay, one with sticks and one with bricks. Despite their efforts, however, the pigs’ houses were blown down one-by-one by the big, bad wolf.

When it comes to big data, your agency does not have to fall to the same fate as the three little pigs. Instead of fearing big data, learn how to comb through the confusion and capitalize on the benefits big data has to offer.

In Thursday’s online training, “Learn How You Can Harness the Power of Big Data,” GovLoop explored government use cases, best practices and strategies to make the most of your agency’s data. Panelists included:

  • Pat Fiorenza, Senior Research Analyst, GovLoop
  • Michael Doane, Technical Director, MarkLogic
  • Heather Dunahoo, Assistant Director, Government Accountability Office’s Forensic Audits & Investigative Service

Pat Fiorenza began the training by highlighting GovLoop’s recent research report, “Harnessing the Power of Big Data.” The report features a survey over more than 150 public-sector employees regarding their agencies perspectives of big data. Survey results conclude that 57 percent of respondents believe that government is ready for big data.

As Fiorenza stated, big data is not to be feared, but rather approached with an open and eager mindset. “I believe big data is using information in new ways to drive mission needs,” he said. More so, Fiorenza believes that the future of big data in the public sector is bright. He predicts that big data will become a part of most agencies’ standard operating procedures.

Next, Doane presented how MarkLogic can meet your agency’s data concerns and security requirements. MarkLogic’s services combine three products in one – database, search and applications – and allow your agency to:

  • Aggregate large amounts of disparate data rapidly.
  • Leverage unstructured data – which may be up to 80 percent of data.
  • Implement top-grade, government-level security measures.

He shared an example of an agency responsible for compiling and analyzing data for terrorist watch lists. There is no limit to the number of data sources that may provide information on a potential terrorist. Suspects have multiple names and identities, are constantly changing location. In addition, there may be an excess of duplicate, tracking and observation data.

MarkLogic helped this agency make sense of all this information by aggregating the disparate data simultaneously on a single platform. In addition, the agency was able to keep a dossier on an unlimited number of datasets on a particular terrorist suspect.

To conclude the training, Dunahoo shared big data use cases from the Government Accountability Office (GAO). Much of the work in the GAO’s Office of Forensic Audits involves aggregating and analyzing data in order to prevent fraud.

In order to catch fraudulent passports, the agency must compile data regarding social security numbers, federal prison data, death records, state imprisonment files, warrants and passport issuances. Passport issuances total more than 20 million records alone.

GAO’s forward-thinking big data strategy allows them to mash all of this data together to find potential leads and crimes. Overall, they found more than 200 cases of potential fraud. Big data has allowed their agency to take a more proactive approach in preventing fraud, instead of a reactive process.

Big data is a transformative tool that can make your agency more effective and efficient in achieving its mission goals. Here are some of the recommended best practices from GovLoop’s new big data report:

  • Know your data.
  • Start with low-hanging fruit.
  • Make the business case.

Forget the fear of overwhelming datasets and think of big data as an opportunity to utilize data in an innovative way. Unlike the big bad wolf, big data is not here to blow your house – or agency – down.

For more information on how your agency can harness the power of big data, listen to the entire online training.

For more than a decade, MarkLogic has delivered a powerful, agile and trusted Enterprise NoSQL database platform that enables organizations to turn all data into valuable and actionable information. Organizations around the world rely on MarkLogic’s enterprise-grade technology to power the new generation of information applications. MarkLogic is headquartered in Silicon Valley with offices in Washington D.C., New York, London, Frankfurt, Utrecht, and Tokyo. For more information, please visit www.marklogic.com.
MarkLogic is a registered trademark of MarkLogic Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other trademarks mentioned are the property of their respective owners.

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