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Public Sector

Brimming with Potential

Traditionally, the public sector has lagged behind private industry when it comes to technological advancement, and data science (including machine learning and - by extension - deep learning and AI) has been no exception. As these technologies shift from novelty to necessity, the tide is quickly turning with many governments (including, for example, the United Kingdom) pouring massive resources into developing these capabilities.

And it makes sense - the public sector is brimming with potential when it comes to applying advanced analytics techniques, with the potential for agencies to more effectively serve their citizens in critical areas like health, safety, housing, public services (including education), defense, and justice.

New applications emerge every day as machine learning techniques evolve, but some of the most promising across all entities in the public sector include:

  • Heightened safety: Whether it’s insider threat detection, counter-intelligence, cyber security, disease monitoring or detection/spread of hazardous materials, machine learning supports humans in the combination of massive and varied data sources to find outliers - that would likely go undetected by humans - to identify or predict threats to safety, whether physical or virtual.
  • Smarter resource allocation (operational efficiency): When there are limited resources, there is always the question: where (and how) to apply them? From allocating border patrol or police forces to performing inspections to deploying street maintenance crew, machine learning and predictive analytics can take any number of data sources and restrictions into account to analyze all factors (even those that a human wouldn’t necessarily consider) for the best possible allocation of those resources.
  • Fraud detection: Advanced, machine learning- and AI-based fraud detection has revolutionized the financial services industries, and it has the potential to do the same in the public sector. From tax fraud to social services fraud and everything in between, combining massive datasets from across different sources allows for more accurate (and less costly) fraud identification.
  • More accurate economic projections and better revenue management: Private industry has been using data science for years to provide more accurate forecasting. Subtle trends in data can allow for machine learning-based predictions that more accurately capture shifts that could go undetected by a human’s analysis.
  • More effective city planning: With the internet of things (IoT), local governments have opportunities to improve the layout and flow (including traffic) of cities or larger regions overall, analyzing the massive quantities of data from sensors to make more informed decisions for the future.
  • Providing better social services: The sheer amount of data at the fingertips of entities in the public sector means that in addition to improving existing services, data science can be used to provide new services and new opportunities to better forward their missions and benefit their citizens.

Challenges Facing the Public Sector

While it’s true that the public sector presents more unique use cases than perhaps any other industry, it also faces some hurdles on the path to AI. The largest of which is that with today’s extreme competition among all businesses to hire data scientists, and given the frequent resource constraints in the public sector, most don’t have massive budgets with which to hire huge teams to handle this volume of data and projects.

So the reality is that in the public sector, more often than not, entities have to make do with the resources they have already. That often means training existing staff, upleveling positions like analysts to take on more advanced data work, and leveraging tools in a smart way to introduce as much automation as possible for scalable data projects.

Dataiku & the Public Sector

Given these challenges, and in order to move forward in the age of AI, public sector entities need a tool that can enhance the skills of a small team and truly democratize the use of data throughout the organization.

Dataiku is the centralized data platform that moves organizations along their data journey, allowing them to dive in and get moving quickly on analytics, data science, and machine learning at scale. By providing features for technical and non-technical staff alike, a repository of best practices, shortcuts to machine learning and AI deployment/management, and a centralized, controlled environment, Dataiku is the perfect solution to put agencies and entities in the public sector on their path to AI.