(Machine) Data and the Council of the Future

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    Wednesday29Nov 2017
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    Guest blog by Gordon Morrison, Director for EMEA Government Affairs, Splunk as part of our #CounciloftheFuture campaign

The world is changing. By 2020 there will be more connected devices (200Bn) of all sizes and in all walks of our lives[1]. Astronomical (and I used that term purposely) amounts of data[2] will be processed annually in the UK, and machine learning will potentially transform our lives[3].

There will also be a continued and perhaps increased need for citizen services provided by local and regional councils. People will still need social care and environmental services. They will still require roads to be repaired and planning applications to be processed. They will need the council to be prepared to respond in a crisis and engage with them in ever evolving new ways. But, the council must do this as the world gets more complex, citizen service expectations increase and resources become scarcer.

Because of this councils will evolve to be very different in the future. Services will be citizen enabled, meaning the individual will interface directly and create the demand. They will be organisationally smaller in size and they may also become technology leaders in fields such as Internet of Things deployment and data sharing / analytics.

In fact, as staff numbers and budgets decrease the only resource that’s going to increase is the amount of machine data a council will generate and perhaps harness. In the near to long term future councils will generate huge amounts of machine data as they operate large IT estates, deploy automation and develop IoT based services.

As we move to a more automated citizen centric model, effective utilisation of machine data will become more and more critical. A council of the future will be an outcome focussed ‘factory’, producing targeted and perhaps anticipated outcomes for its citizens, and radical exploitation of machine data will support this.

The council will be able to use data analytics to predict potential problems not only in their underlying service provision and cyber operations but will perhaps be able to see underlying trends. We are seeing this in other industries already - Toufic Boubez in our 2017 Splunk Predictions commented; ‘In 2017, industries will leverage machine learning to execute predictive maintenance. As automation is used to quickly and efficiently ensure business continuity, enterprises will turn to machine learning to up the ante.’

Using the ‘factory’ analogy - councils will monitor outcome generation performance by linking citizen service satisfaction with the process that generated it. They will also be able to manage the increasing complexity, not only achieving visibility across their IT estate but ensuring that as we move into an era of IoT and smart cities, IT Ops, Cyber and Service owners will operate strategically though a ‘single cohesive organisational view’ rather than a stove piped tactical view.

Finally, process automation will become increasingly common in the council of the future. Currently mundane human tasks in Cyber, IT Ops and Service Provision will be increasingly automated and machine data is critical to this. This is not about displacing the people that work in the council of the future but about using machine data and automation to put those people where they will really benefit the citizen.

Our call to action around the council is positive. Things will change significantly over the next few years and it’s going to be difficult, but the services a council provides will remain critical to its citizens. The council of the future will be at the forefront of this technological revolution – industry, government, the citizen and other parties should embrace this and recognise it, life will be complex but the way we change people’s lives can be revolutionised.

[1] https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/internet-of-things/infographics/guide-to-iot.html

[2] https://www.cisco.com/c/en/us/solutions/collateral/service-provider/visual-networking-index-vni/vni-hyperconnectivity-wp.html

[3] https://www.splunk.com/en_us/resources/machine-learning.html

Join the discussion on #CounciloftheFuture To see more blogs like this, please visit the website here.

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