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Public data policy: making better use of data for the benefit of the general public

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How to implement public data policy?

Supported by government initiatives and already keenly aware of the need to modernise procedures, the public sector has everything to gain from exploiting and adding value to its data. But the quickening pace of digital transformation brings with it some stringent requirements in terms of security and quality of service. To maintain a clear picture of the data lifecycle, it is crucial to avail ourselves of an appropriate strategy and toolkit.

France, a data exploitation trailblazer

Since the early 2010s and the rise of Big Data, France has been a pioneer in data policy. In 2021, France became the most advanced European country in this area. At the origin lies a genuine desire for innovation and to see some ground-breaking initiatives to open up and make best use of data (AP2022 in public administration, France Transfert, HubEE for digital government services, the new 2021 open data road map, and so on).

So far, the public sector has, for example, been using data to address environmental issues (carbon emissions reduction, water treatment, etc.), social or health matters (improvement of school catchment areas, monitoring of metrics during Covid, etc.) in addition to its own internal continuous improvement. But the potential for using data remains huge, and local and national government must improve their information systems architecture and data governance on an on-going basis in order to add value to their data.

The crucial questions of data security, integration and trustworthiness or reliability are particularly unavoidable. They can slow down the progress of data-related projects, and in some cases lead to their being abandoned entirely. These constraints can nonetheless be reconciled with a policy of open data, if the right solutions are adopted.

Data: a public service asset in a variety of ways

Data is not merely a driver of internal optimisation. It is also a significant asset in adapting the organisation of local and national government bodies, opening the way to better fulfilment of their roles and achievement of their public policies.

Data for dealing with the public

Data can serve to give the public control over their personal data and build their engagement and boost e-democracy. Measures such as public consultation and online administrative procedures help to further connect public-sector bodies and users.

Data to clarify services and win users’ trust

Greater transparency in services will help to regain users’ trust. And such transparency entails clearer, more direct procedures, which are therefore simpler to process in shorter timeframes by the relevant departments. These are efficiency gains that necessarily involve the use of data. 

Data to improve action and reaction

Proper control over data delivers responsiveness. In a demanding regulatory environment (data security and integrity, GDPR compliance, etc.), comprehensive supervision and understanding of the data flows involved make it easier to meet all the required standards.

Data for internal coordination and evaluating your organisation

Data is vital to well-informed management. Data is used at all levels in organisations, whether for tracking progress with matters in hand, instantaneous controlled interchanges between government departments and with users, visibility over organisations and budgets, and also to understand the public’s expectations. It also serves to put the notion of Operational Excellence into actual practice.

Data for innovation

The provision and exploitation of data can generate and make achievable innovative ideas and concepts that benefit the public generally, and the public sector itself. Data brings about ever more intuitive portals and solutions that add value to data and offer new services to users.

Data to re-invigorate the economy

The many new businesses making use of data within open data projects prove that openness as regards data creates value, and stimulates initiatives from entrepreneurs and non-profits alike.

Public-sector organisations wishing to put their data strategy into practice need to devise an all-encompassing human and technical organisation to manage and use data efficiently.

As the heart that pumps this data around, the information system needs flexibility and the capability to deliver maximum performance for internal data traffic, and the transformation and consolidation of information. It forms a foundation for local authorities to make data available for the benefit of public officials and users alike.

Putting in place the foundation allowing data to further public policy

The first step to truly implementing a data policy is to place this data – as structured data – at the core of the IS through a re-engineering process. In so doing, users’ needs are made central to the strategy.

« Better control over data means better service to the public »

Pierre Boizard, Public Sector Director

Architecturally speaking, two essential solutions, each complementing the other, offer full control over the development of data traffic and data exposure:

ESB

The application bus meets the need to re-engineer the information system so that business applications old and new can communicate.

Blueway’s VIADUC platform connects IS software and components together, smoothly transforming and transporting data. It is consequently possible to consolidate and add value to data across all functional business areas and supervise data traffic distribution everywhere it occurs.

APIM

API governance provides control over the exposure of all useful data sets, with other government departments, private partners and the population more broadly.

Data processing and interchange are both fully secure, and services are provided in such a way as to encourage independent use.The VIADUC platform includes API governance natively. We believe it is a vital tool in any open data policy, and in keeping data exposure secure based on your requirements, and those of your users.

Combined under VIADUC, our re-engineering and data integration toolkit, these functionalities constitute an essential foundation to deliver effectively-managed and efficient internal data governance and external data exposure.Such governance makes it possible to remove obstacles to the development of a public service data strategy and to meet the needs of the general public, businesses and non-profits.

Auteur
Pierre Boizard
Director, Blueway Public Sector Firmly committed to the IT modernization of public services, Pierre has been working with the State and local authorities for over 17 years, specializing in this sector and its challenges, particularly in the areas of social welfare, transport, education and the environment.
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