The Potential of Big Data and Analytics for Virginia

State governments nationwide are beginning to do great work with big data and analytics. Governor McAuliffe ignited Virginia’s analytics program through Directive 7, which calls for more shared data and analytics among Virginia agencies. Directive 7 is aimed at breaking down the silos between government departments in order to make operations more efficient and cost effective. If executed properly, these same efforts will also have a significant impact on the lives of everyday citizens.

Let’s take at-risk children as an example: A comprehensive, centralized analytics program would allow a case worker to have complete situational awareness of a child’s life. The case worker would be able to examine the parents’ criminal histories, the school attendance records of other children in the home, the family’s history of redeeming SNAP benefits, the child’s medical history and diagnoses. Combining these various pieces of information provides a complete, holistic view of the child’s at-home situation and enables the case worker to make an evidenced-based decision about how to best support the child. With analytics and shared data, the level of support offered to all at-risk children would greatly improve.

This is just one example of many. From addressing the opioid addiction epidemic and reducing fatal car crashes to accelerating snow storm clean-up and preventing waste, fraud and abuse, Virginia’s government will dramatically improve the efficacy of its current programs (and develop impactful new programs) by implementing centralized analytics.

So, why aren’t they? This article will explore analytics’ potential within Virginia and offer expert insight on the roadblocks Virginia must overcome to become a national leader in data-driven government.

Jake Bittner bio.