Articles in Category: Big Data
Everyone agrees that in the future, data mining and predictive analytics will make criminal justice and social service agencies more effective.
The transformative changes promised to organizations that find effective ways of utilizing data include improved access to services, more efficient and effective service delivery, and the ability to answer big, predictive questions. The real payoff comes when we can integrate big data into daily operations, using it at every level to make more intelligent decisions about current and future programs and services.
According to the Public Sector Media Group, the emergence of more powerful, precise, and cost-effective tools has made big data a viable option for a broad range of potential users, not just data specialists. Yet most human services organizations lag behind their counterparts in the scientific and business communities when it comes to collecting and analyzing available data, and it’s not too difficult to see why:
- Criminal justice and human services organizations tend to collect data to meet operational needs, and those data are often buried in the organization’s administrative systems.
- Data is either missing or incomplete, or stored in silos or on forms that are inaccessible to automated processing.
- Policy and regulatory challenges – such as building data-sharing agreements, ensuring privacy and confidentiality of data, and creating collaboration protocols among various stakeholders – can be daunting.
- Issues being tackled in the social sector are often more complex than they are in business or science, making the use of big data more difficult.
Bridging the Gap: Innovative Partnerships to Unlock the Power of Big Data
The stakes are high. Big data initiatives that combine and mine data from multiple databases across organizations, government and non-government agencies can deliver critical new insights about what services are being used, how, by whom and with what outcomes.
Armed with this information, criminal justice and human services agencies can target, serve and predict with greater accuracy – a crucial goal as service areas and clients grow while budgets and human resources shrink. Yet, as high as those stakes may be, for decades, organizations providing services to underserved populations have struggled against an overly bureaucratic, complex and cumbersome infrastructure with little opportunity or ability to embrace change or benefit from the technologies that are transforming service delivery in other sectors.
To bridge the gap, criminal justice and human service organizations, along with their counterparts in healthcare and government, have been embracing innovative partnerships with companies able to break through traditional barriers, provide technological and analytical expertise, and deliver the promise big data holds.
Knowledge is power. And one of the richest sources of knowledge is the data that an organization collects about its people, clients, services, and finances.
Depending on an organization’s capacity to manage it, this torrent of data can be overwhelming or it can be leveraged to improve strategic and operational decision-making. The challenge is to create an environment in which every person has the capability to extract knowledge from the data at his or her disposal, and use it proactively in the day-to-day operations and administration of services.
While many agencies around the country are now implementing creative, effective practices and programs that demonstrate this vision, few are able to achieve it with in-house resources, and from within the traditional, inertia-burdened organizational structure. With the right data, integrated systems, collaboration tools and mindset, services can be planned, coordinated, delivered, monitored and evaluated more efficiently, maximizing positive outcomes for children, families and communities.
The Vision of MTS is to accelerate organizational transformation by creating and managing an Integrated data infrastructure, along with the collaborative and ongoing services needed to adopt, deploy and sustain the use of new technologies in the delivery of criminal justice programs and human services.