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European Commission uses data to improve public services across Europe

We create as much data in two days as we did from the beginning of time until the year 2000. But how could public administrations use this information to shape policies and services for their citizens?

It’s a question that the Big Data Test Infrastructure (BDTI) project is exploring, funded by the European Commission’s Connecting Europe Facility programme. And Deloitte has been brought in to help.

The sky’s the limit

According to the Commission, the continent lags behind trendsetter countries like the United States when it comes to the use of data and analytics. But the mountain of information that administrations are sitting on could be used to provide insights, improve regulation and develop better public services.

From tracking the geo-positioning of ships on heavily used transatlantic routes to determine port capacity, to analysing online job vacancies in 12 European member states, the sky’s the limit for how data can benefit people and society. Yet for many public administrations, there hasn’t been the funding, technology or know-how locally to make it happen.

Now that’s changing. Through the BDTI project, European administrations can run low-cost pilot schemes to explore and experiment with their data. This allows them to confirm the technology is worth investing in before exploring operational solutions.

The project infrastructure was built by a cloud engineering team from Deloitte’s Zaventem office in Belgium. In just two months they created the platform, tools and technologies to support the different elements of data processing, including collection and analysis.

“We are now beginning to see the impact that the platform is having on the European member states. People do not always have the knowledge or the skills to work with these technologies. We can guide them through the platform to show them what it can do so they can see how to use it,” said Brecht Verhoeve, business analyst at Deloitte Belgium.

Proving its worth

Set up at the start of 2019, the BDTI initiative is already demonstrating its value. Projects have included supporting the three-day Eurostat Big Data Hackathon, which was held in Brussels in March 2019.

Organised by the European Commission, the competition saw 18 teams from national statistical offices across the EU compete to create a product that combined official statistics and big data to explore pioneering solutions for data collection.

Hackathon participants stored and collected data on the BDTI platform, before using it to build innovative statistical products. Our team also provided 24-hour support to help competitors work with the technology.

Other BDTI pilots we’ve supported include a health analytics platform and an initiative that analyses e-procurement data for fraud detection in Norway, plus a court resolutions and decision search centre in Portugal.

As the team continues to support new services for the BDTI project, it should fuel the adoption of analytics technologies across Europe, benefitting public administrations and, more importantly, the citizens they serve.

What is big data?

Big data generally refers to large datasets that provide knowledge about many aspects of an organisation to help it make better decisions, faster, and with more confidence.

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