Big data has become the buzz word du jour in the federal IT space. Agencies want to understand and harness it and vendors want to sell solutions for it.
Bob Otto, executive vice president at Agilex Technologies and the former chief information officer at the Postal Service, shares his technology predictions for 2013.
Bob Otto’s Top 3 for 2013
Big Data Subsumes Government — According to estimates, the amount of digital information being created is growing exponentially as it doubles every two years. As just one example, think of the military’s expanded use of sensors in the battlefield. This explosive growth is a huge issue for government due to the unique records management, collaboration, open data and cybersecurity constraints it faces. For example, while many predict a reduction in hardware spending, no one has explained where this data will be stored. The bigger challenge is ensuring data integrity as this has been a stumbling block even under the best of circumstances. We are reaching a breaking point requiring new strategies and approaches. This is where Big Data can play a role in summarizing the data and making it valuable by extracting insight only available from very large collections.
BYOD Hits the Wall — Throughout government, there is widespread enthusiasm for “bring-your-own-device” (BYOD) strategies that allow employees to use their personal mobile computing devices at work. In addition to projected cost savings, this approach allows us to integrate our work and home lives more seamlessly. However, agencies are finding challenges in making this a reality as current regulations don’t distinguish between government-owned and BYOD smartphones and tablets. This means that personally-owned devices are subject to restrictions that most individuals won’t accept. These challenges will eventually be overcome as agencies work through the real-world implications of these rules and become more comfortable and familiar with the fine-tooth controls offered by mobile device management solutions.
Health IT Prepares for Lift-off — With all of the debate surrounding the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare), an important fact has been overlooked – the healthcare industry has transformed itself by going digital. Spurred by the HITECH Act of 2009, a majority of physicians now use electronic health record systems, essentially doubling the numbers of just three years ago. This is significant as healthcare represents more than 15% of GDP and has historically been very inefficient. Now that we’ve digitalized health records and achieved critical mass, we can begin to leverage this information to improve healthcare – 2013 is the year where we start to see the payback. The immediate opportunities including improving collaborative care and expanding the use of analytics to enhance patient safety, fight fraud, waste and abuse, and to develop more effective treatments.
Francis Rose is the host of In Depth, which airs weekdays from 8-10 a.m. on 1500 AM in the Washington, D.C. metro area and online everywhere. Francis has covered all three branches of the federal government as a broadcast journalist since 1998. He joined Federal News Radio in 2006, and launched In Depth in 2008 as a daily show focused on connecting federal executives to the information they need to do their jobs better.