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Refining Value from Government Data With Machine Learning and More

The following post is an excerpt from GovLoop's recent guide, The Top 30 Government Innovations of 2017

An interview with Dave Shuman, Industry Leader, Cloudera

With the exponential growth and increasing complexity of public sector data, it becomes more critical that governments at all levels are able to employ a strategy to analyze and leverage the wealth of information contained within. The public sector must modernize and adopt platforms for machine learning and data analytics that will allow them to drive insights, enhance services, and strengthen security across their enterprise.

To understand how government can better tackle data collection and curation, to glean insights through a broad spectrum of tools, GovLoop sat down with Dave Shuman, Industry Leader at Cloudera, a leading platform for machine learning and analytics.

Government organizations have enormous data resources, Shuman noted. In fact, Shuman said, it’s the responsibility of the government to collect and curate that data in a way such that it positively impacts the life of its citizens.

“We like to say data is the new oil,” Shuman said. “Data is an asset in the same way that we’re managing any other natural resource that we have within our borders. And that’s the obligation of our government to curate this for its constituency so that we can use this to our benefit, like any other natural resource.”

So today agency leaders and program management professionals must seek practical, secure, and effective methods to extract the valuable information captured in their data repositories — from legacy systems to real-time data streams. While some in the public sector have mastered big data management, others still have a way to go, and the ability to quickly interpret information separates those who will excel in data management from those who will struggle.

If agencies seek drive mission success in today’s environment, they must collect and create a community around their data; build models that refine value from the data; and then serve the insights and models.

In order to open the information to users and create a community based on data discovery, the public sector must modernize its platforms and adopt a new approach to properly collect and store the data, Shuman said.

“The public sector needs to collect data in its native form, and allow users who have the proper authorization to explore the data using a broad spectrum of tools,” he said. “Doing so then opens us up to an incredible community to innovate on that data.”

But curation and collection is not enough. Government must also work to build models that then refine value from the collective and curated data.

That’s where machine learning comes in. Machine learning is a method of data analysis that automates analytical model building. It provides popular functionality like recommendation engines, predictive maintenance, and is a cornerstone of future internet of things (IoT) workflows.

By adopting machine learning, it's possible for government to quickly and automatically produce models that can analyze bigger, more complex data and deliver faster, more accurate results – even on a very large scale. And by building precise models, an agency has a better chance of identifying mission opportunities, detecting fraud, or avoiding unknown risks.

Cloudera can help the public sector apply machine learning to their valuable data sets to gain better insights, as well as curating raw data, and enabling security and governance on that in such a way that government can still protect the data, but also allow it to be used in all these different types of applications.

“Cloudera is the modern platform for machine learning and analytics,” Shuman said. “Our tools are built on a core of an open source architecture, an incredible community of smart intelligent developers globally that are helping to design frameworks that we all get to benefit from.”

Additionally, with billions of sensors, smart machines and connected devices generating data every second, IoT is placing unprecedented demands on organizations' data storage, processing and analytic capabilities. Bringing data together on a modern platform and applying new models will allow agencies to derive insights through machine learning.

“Cloudera is focused on the promise of big data – exploring it, combining different datasets, and analyzing them in innovative ways. By doing that, governments at all levels can discover new and valuable insights that enable better decision making and most importantly, better services for citizens,” Shuman concluded.

Read the full Top 30 Innovations of 2017 guide, here.

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