When you consider the rapid rise of digital operations across the public and private spectrum, government agencies face the same challenges as every modern business. There is a need to enhance access and sharing of data while balancing the risks between private, public, and national interests.
In a world where so much data travels across the globe and resides in locales that transcend agency borders regularly, the need to facilitate safer access without compromising mission-orientated goals can seem daunting.
The lifeblood of the digital world is data. Communications, classified records, real-time information, and actionable intelligence aren’t the only datasets governments use to achieve their mission. From the dispersed registers to the fragmented landscape of organizational silos, government agencies are realizing that increased data usage can be both a blessing and a curse.
There is a fine line between protecting data and giving reasonable access to information to help agencies make valid, data-driven decisions. Below, we look at what increased data usage means for government databases and how agencies can improve their data operations.
The Benefits Available from Increased Data Usage for Government Agencies
Public agencies around the world are taking big strides toward interoperability and greater connectivity to facilitate smarter operations. Linking registers traditionally designed for narrow purposes can unlock new potential and support good public governance. The challenge with these initiatives is to make data available while safeguarding the records per the agency’s security policies, legal responsibilities, and technical capabilities.
In the United Kingdom, South Korea, and Portugal, governments created dashboards to track the spikes during the pandemic and helped decision-makers respond quicker. Germany also uses data to monitor the availability of ICU beds but the value of increased data usage and interoperability stretches beyond responding to the pandemic.
With improved data connectivity and interoperability, governments can:
- Provide better experiences to citizens – Improved accessibility allows governments to establish a “once only” data submission principle. When a citizen enters data in one register, it can automatically initiate subsequent responses in other registers, making it easier for citizens to access government services.
- Reduce administrative effort – By not manually obtaining data from citizens and other agencies, governments can alleviate the burden on employees and increase case processing drastically. The Netherlands uses existing databases to pull data for their census, allowing them to save a large percentage of the costs associated with the traditional survey approach.
- Make data-driven policy changes – With quality data from various registers, governments can set policy that improves crisis management and make better long-term investment decisions. Denmark uses registers from different government agencies including topographic data to simulate flooding scenarios and plan upgrades and developments accordingly.
Challenges Arising from Increased Data Usage
Within this new digital landscape, some challenges hamper the effective use of data at scale and across agencies. Different approaches to data architecture and technology adoption make it difficult to communicate effectively and share information securely between individuals, departments, and external entities. Although improved accessibility can unlock new potential, there are challenges that agencies need to overcome.
The primary challenges are:
- Scattered data – Agencies often struggle to identify data within specific registers and this makes it difficult to discern ownership, accuracy, or availability
- Insufficient digitalization – Many agencies still use paper registers for task processing that restricts them from sharing information in any meaningful way
- Siloed schemas – Internal schemas and architecture lead to siloed databases that hamper interoperability and joint processing
While these challenges aren’t new, government agencies are looking at innovative ways to solve them and improve the delivery of their mission. Prioritizing cloud-enabled services and communications along with modernizing the data landscape with digital technologies are allowing governments to drive up efficiencies and improve public services.
Greater Interoperability and Effective Data Exchanges in Government Agencies
With a clear vision and effective strategy, agencies can start redesigning the data landscape for greater interoperability. Secure, end-to-end encryption (E2EE) communication tools enable government data to traverse the cloud and agencies to centralize infrastructure components. By developing different use cases for data usage, agencies can uncover value in their registers and transform their operations to deliver impact quickly.
Modernizing IT architecture and developing a centralized data agency has become a priority for many governments over the last decade. While many are succeeding in their initiatives, they need to adopt the latest governance strategies and invest in security technologies to grow and mature along with increased data usage in government.
Safeguarding Agency Communications and Information Exchanges with Wickr
Wickr, an AWS company, provides an E2EE collaboration platform that enables agencies to safeguard all communications and information exchanges. Trusted by many government agencies, Wickr supports text messaging, video conferencing, file sharing, storage, and powerful integrations with other AWS cloud applications. In the new data landscape, secure communications and data sharing are critical components to help agencies achieve their objectives.
For more information about our secure communication platform’s capabilities and features, get in touch with Wickr today.