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How data can help government make faster decisions

Hannover Fairs Australia

Tuesday, 19 September, 2017


Govinnovate brief q a pete williams

More informed, higher quality and faster decisions can be made when data is presented properly at every level of an organisation, and according to data titan Pete Williams, there’s no area of business that hasn’t been affected by the data-related opportunities now widely available.

Pete Williams, Former Head of Enterprise Analytics at Marks and Spencer, and the world’s 6th ranked most influential person in data-driven business is heading to Australia to share his knowledge during a public-sector only conference next month. He’s delivering a keynote presentation at the 6th Annual GovInnovate Summit on how government organisations can transform their services to deliver better experiences for citizens.

Williams states that data has changed the business landscape irrevocably over the last five years, as the increasing availability of data science and AI technologies continues to empower both public and private organisations to make better decisions.

“More informed, higher quality and faster decisions can be made when data is presented properly at every level of a business, ensuring focus on the areas of decision making that demand attention. In many ways the most significant impact of the big data fever has been visualisation, where skilled data storytellers can turn complexity into common sense to consider for the best decision possible,” Pete states.

According to Pete, the complexity of the public sector makes government a prime candidate for data driven decision making. Stating: “I’m not sure [the complexity of government] changes the nature of how they use data and insights as I believe these will always be the way to the best decision. But the position brings a requirement for greater responsibility due to the potential impacts on individuals and society. It’s important that the right talent is attracted, and robust processes are followed.”

Williams believes that the future of machine learning and predictive analytics in the public sector is exciting as the impact these technologies have on society could be massive.

“There’s valuable work that could be done on populations, towns, infrastructure requirements. How much could models be updated with new techniques or possible data sources? Could they run more efficiently or frequently to provide better foresight? What sort of forecasting could be done on public finances.”

But before we start interacting with virtual assistants, Williams states that governments should first focus on data governance. We need to understand how data is stored, where it came from, how it’s transformed and how it ends up where it is. Once governments understand the value that can be derived from data, we can then work toward bridging the blind spots we currently have when delivering civic services.

Pete Williams is delivering a keynote presentation at the GovInnovate Summit 2017, taking place in just 3 weeks at the National Convention Centre in Canberra, from 10–12 October. Register with the promo code GTR to save $100 on your pass.

Image courtesy of Hannover Fairs Australia.

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