To leverage data in a smart way, government organisations require a new approach to data governance and making the data accessible and understandable
Governments have a timeless mission: to provide services, to protect society and to enable economic growth. While the individual activities within those three buckets change over time, or while the focus between those three buckets might change over the years, the fundamental mission stays the same.
In today’s digital society, there is immense pressure on government agencies to deliver on their fundamental mandate. Digitally experienced citizens demand the service level and customer experience they know from shopping, banking, and social media. Disasters happen more often, and with a bigger impact. Globalisation puts businesses and governments under pressure.
To fulfil the mission, government needs to start with the citizens and their needs. Policies and decisions have much better outcomes when they are based on citizens’ insight and ideas. Analysis of sentiments expressed in social networks and e-participation tools help governments understand their citizens.
Cities are the world’s oldest governance body – they remain the most direct, formal contact most people have with government. Cities are engines of global economic growth, and with urbanisation in developing economies, 60 per cent of the world’s population – about 4.7 billion people – will live in cities in 2025.
Cities are always a conglomerate of multiple industries. Utilities, transportation, engineering and construction, even automotive companies, they all are members and stakeholders in an ecosystem of a city, and need to collaborate when we talk about the smart usage of data.
All things good on this earth flow into the city because of the city’s greatness. But what makes a great city?
City goals are typically focused on three areas: economic growth, quality of life and sustainable development.
To deliver better against these goals cities around the world have been the focus of innovation in the use of new technologies like the Internet of Things. Through smart city initiatives and entrepreneurship, cities are experimenting with IoT applications to improve services, relieve traffic congestion, conserve water and energy, and improve quality of life.
When we take a closer look at many initiatives we need to ask what the real impact is. We know that things like smart parking or smart lighting are now proven scenarios. But are those really smart? Or is this just the minimum level one should expect anyhow given today’s possibilities provided by technology?
At the core of being successful with smart initiatives is the smart usage of data. Agencies have the opportunity to use data to drive policy decisions, set goals, measure performance, and increase government transparency, thus acting on facts and insights rather than on beliefs and opinions.
One of the issues is that the data mostly lies in transactional systems in silos across multiple agencies and at times outside the reach of government. To better leverage data in a smart way, government organisations will require a new approach to data governance and making the data accessible and understandable.
Innovation mostly happens when members of different faculties or different backgrounds come together and jointly work on complex issues. Now think about what else is possible when we use the possibilities of merging data from smart light poles, sensors and other sources. Think about autonomous driving.
The further development of autonomous driving is dependent on real-time location and traffic data not just derived from a GPS system, but from sensors in a smart infrastructure. And it can be enriched with further information from other sources, like weather data and the like. Using these different sources of data and mashing it up will allow for new insights and predictive models, which again will help us improve the traffic situation on our streets. – and change the game for a city.
Big data created from a growing number of sources enables cities to rethink processes, creating citizen specific insights which allows for improved service delivery. When this data is combined with empathy for the urban lives of citizens, digital can completely change our engagement with cities. City as a platform can reimagine service delivery and offerings with empathy for each citizen.
Ultimately it is about understanding the city’s pulse, exploring, visualising and gaining actionable insights.
Visit www.sap.com/industries/smart-cities.html to find out how SAP will support your city to achieve your city’s goals.
Martin Klein is the global vice president and head of the Industry Business Unit for Public Sector at SAP, which includes SAP’s Future Cities Programme. He is responsible for SAP´s end-to-end footprint in the public sector business, driving the company’s overall strategy for this industry, overseeing the global business in the sector, directing product and solution roadmaps, and leading go to market activities.
Prior to this role, Martin served in several senior management roles in the areas of corporate strategy, business consulting, and business development within SAP. Formerly he worked in strategy and consulting with Lufthansa German Airlines and Gemini Consulting. He holds a Master’s Degree in Business Administration and a Doctorate in Technology Management from the University of Mannheim.