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Data Analytics Centre announces twelve new projects

by Poppy Johnston •
Free resource

Topics: IT Services; Data Analytics; NSW.

Just one year into its operations, the New South Wales Government’s Data Analytics Centre (DAC) is looking to take the first twelve of its analytics projects live and introduce twelve more.

The unit is also in the process of building the DAC Marketplace, which will allow project participants to share ideas, pitch solutions and demonstrate technologies. The platform will share some characteristics with the Digital Transformation Office’s (DTO) Digital Marketplace.

Speaking at a DAC workshop, recently appointed Government Chief Information and Digital Officer (GCIDO) Damon Rees outlined his vision for the “industrialization of data-sharing” – an environment where collaboration and sharing data is commonplace.

Rees said that the traditional perception of data ownership was preventing government from completing this transition – “people are accustomed to thinking about data as something that they own.” Overcoming “cultural challenges” like this is key to achieving an insights-driven government.

The DAC’s goal is to collaborate with any organisation with valuable data or ideas in the spirit of mutual benefit, a healthy economy and better government services. The unit has positioned themselves as the ‘cross-pollinators’ of datasets from government and non-government sources, and have already worked with nine private sector companies on their first round of projects.

Improving the process of sharing data across jurisdictions is another core component of the DAC’s vision, with a number of current and proposed projects relying on the addition of cross-jurisdictional data. 

Round two projects

The DAC is currently seeking solutions and private sector input on their next twelve projects. These are:

  • Discovering current and projected health impacts of heatwaves in NSW;
  • broadening the evidence base for school enrolment projections;
  • tackling non-compliance with the Hot Spots Program;
  • identifying buildings that are a hazard due to cladding and construction problems;
  • “understanding contact with juvenile and adult justice system”;
  • reducing domestic violence;
  • “what is the worth of Water?”;
  • improving improving pedestrian safety (particularly from vehicles);
  • improving compliance with the Green Slip CTP scheme;
  • reducing hospital admissions for workplace injury;
  • streamlining the process of doing business in NSW; and
  • building the dataset for child protection and out-of-home care.

The DAC has commenced 12 data analytics projects in round one, including analysing the call out rate by NSW Fire and Rescue and the number of false alarms and understanding the needs of commuters in off-peak hour travel times. Most of these projects have reached the Proof-of-Concept stage and will soon be operationalised.

The list of priority projects for the DAC has been developed through a consultation process with key NSW Government agencies. The projects closely align with the objectives in the NSW Intergenerational Report, Premier Mike Baird’s 12 state priorities, and other 2016-17 state budget priorities.

DAC projects are reviewed by the DAC Advisory Panel, based on their social, economic and environmental criteria, before being considered by the NSW Government.

DAC Resources Portal

The DAC is also in the process of building a cloud-based analytics portal, which will function as the “single front door to interact with DAC”. The portal will be home to the DAC Marketplace – a platform to “consume data, share ideas and demonstrate technology platforms”.

The DAC Marketplace will be divided according to foundational DAC capabilities, including geospatial intelligence, machine learning and secure data exchange capabilities. Members will be able to share their ideas and solutions according to their unique skillset.

Like the DTO’s Digital Marketplace, the DAC Marketplace will mean projects can be broken down into more manageable components. This will allow greater choice of suppliers and make it easier for start-ups, Small to Medium Enterprises (SMEs), and others to participate in DAC projects.

Earlier this year the NSW Government approached the market for a consolidated cloud-based analytics platform to cover the needs of two distinct use cases – a comprehensive analytics platform for the DAC, known as the DAC Resource Portal (DACRP), and a supplier granular sales data analytics solution for procurement analysis at NSW Procurement. The DAC Marketplace will sit within the DACRP.

The contract was expected to commence in April 2016, but no further details regarding the procurement have been made available.

The platform will consist of “a suite of data integration, storage and analytics applications”, including a secure portal with a tool to facilitate the bulk upload and integration of datasets and a data storage platform to store structured and unstructured data.

According to DAC Data Solutions Architect Tim O’Connor, building a platform able to process real-time and unstructured data is a challenge beyond the capabilities of traditional data architecture. The ultimate objective is to eliminate the process of preparing and cleansing data and achieve close to complete automation. This will “bring the data closer to the analytics”.

The portal will also display interactive dashboards and reports across mediums, and integrate with geospatial maps.

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