In an increasingly technical world, every click and keystroke we make is recorded and collected. The vast stores of raw data we now have on hand are a valuable resource that, until recently, has gone largely untapped. We currently have access to more information than ever before, and data analytics has the potential to deliver innovation in service provisions and improve outcomes by generating new perspectives.
Data analytics involves collecting, examining and modelling data sets to generate insights; support decision-making; and inform propagation of data, predicting future activity. These insights facilitate targeted government action. What if we could use information currently on hand to forecast, for example, when our schools will no longer be able to support a growing population? Interventions could be designed and implemented well ahead of time, preventing children from having to travel long distances each day or receiving a sub-standard education in an overpopulated school.
The Mayor’s Office of Data Analytics was established in New York City in 2013 to facilitate data-sharing and implement data-driven solutions to city-wide issues. Since then, several data analytics hubs have sprung up across the globe.
In New South Wales, the Data Analytics Centre (DAC) was established in 2015, and is supported by the Data Sharing Act 2015 (which facilitates the sharing of government data with the DAC). The DAC is a centralised agency with the capacity to aggregate and analyse whole of government data, and serves as a single port of call for departments seeking to leverage data sets for their own purposes.
Its mission is to build world-class capabilities in whole-of-government data analytics to improve health and well-being, safety, social, economic and environmental outcomes for the citizens of NSW.