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Event Streaming: The Future of Data Management

For agencies, data is not just the engine for innovation — it is the engine for everything. Agencies that use data effectively can better collaborate with one another, deliver stronger services to citizens and achieve more mission wins.

Despite this, many agencies have taken a passive approach to managing their data, resulting in disconnected data silos and outdated applications and practices.

Event streaming can help agencies handle these issues with active data management and sharing. GovLoop spoke with Will LaForest, Public Sector Chief Technology Officer (CTO) and Jason Schick, General Manager for U.S. Public Sector at Confluent, an event streaming platform provider, to understand what this approach is and how it works.

LaForest and Schick shared the following three best practice tips for integrating event streaming into agencies’ operations.

1. Change the Data Culture

Traditionally, agencies have processed data in batches, which means any data set is essentially a snapshot in time. Event streaming, on the other hand, treats data as a never-ending stream of events, with data being updated in real time as changes occur.

“The idea is simple: every time there is a change to a source database, that change is distributed to everyone who cares,” LaForest said.

Gradually, event streaming improves how agencies analyze their data, boosting the productivity their workforces derive from this information.

2. Collaboration Is Key

Healthy data cultures also need boundless collaboration. By eliminating internal and external data silos, agencies consider more perspectives on the information they have. In turn, this diversity can make agencies more innovative.

“Different agencies collect data around the same places and businesses,” Wise said of one mistake agencies frequently make. “They have to be able to connect the dots between those different data silos.”

Imagine Austin’s economic recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic. About 12 agencies are connected to the city’s businesses, Wise said. Starting now, these agencies will need to cooperate, or businesses might not experience the best possible rebound going forward.

“If you have a strong data culture and the infrastructure to share data across the entire enterprise, you are going to find opportunities to collaborate,” Wise said.

3. Keep Citizens Connected

Ultimately, agencies exist to serve the public. People can provide agencies with the input they need to improve public services.

“Data has to be shared with the public to earn the public’s trust,” Wise said. “In any successful government program, you have to put the citizen in the center of it and make sure their needs are addressed.”

Tools such as Tyler Technologies’ Socrata data platform, built on the Amazon Web Services i.e. Cloud, can link citizens, employees and leaders into informative feedback loops for agencies. Once established, these feedback loops can anchor the sturdy data cultures agencies need for optimum public services.

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s recent guide, “Reinventing Government: 20 Innovations for 2020.” Download the full guide here.

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