How big data is transforming public services – expert views [theguardian.com]
What is big data?
It’s a bit of a misnomer: “Ex-Guardian writer Simon Rogers once said, ‘Big data is data that is one bit too much for you to be comfortable’, and this is probably the best definition I’ve read.
“The volume of data is not irrelevant, but not as important as it sounds. More important is the ability to link diverse datasets with each other.”
– Giuseppe Sollazzo, senior systems analyst at St George’s, University of London, and member of the open data user group
It’s about time we dropped the “big” jargon: “It’s just data. Data volume and velocity is exponentially increasing, but has always been too big to easily store and process … One thing that has changed in the last few years is the recognition from decision makers – not just analysts – that data is a valuable resource.”
– Tom Smith, director of the Oxford Consultants for Social Inclusion
Why is it important for government?
“Joining up public sector data sources can make government more efficient, save money, identify fraud and help public bodies better serve their citizens.”
– Claire Vyvyan, executive director and general manager of public sector at Dell UK
“Data can enable government to do existing things more cheaply, do existing things better and do new things we don’t currently do.”
– Tom Heath, head of research at the Open Data Institute