Published: 11 March 2022

Reading time: About 6 minutes

Automated Intelligence were delighted to present and sponsor at Think Digital Partners Think Data for Government virtual conference last week. The conference looked at the many challenges with data, including the understanding of data, data quality and data standards. In our latest blog, we take a look at some of the key takeaways from the event.  

Getting the right data to the right people at the right time 

The volume of growing data was a recurring key challenge discussed and how the complexity of data and turning its volume into meaning is necessary for public sector organisations to do their job. Christophe Prince, Director of Data and Identity from The Home Office highlighted how police and law enforcements dealing with sensitive information and large amounts of data is a challenge in itself due to storage issues and staff having to work their way through significant amounts of data.  Prince continued it’s critical that the public sector require a cloud first approach to join up on data before it becomes a barrier and although technology is important, it’s not the only part that needs considered in relation to data management. However, he noted that data is seen as the second most important asset after staff and by getting the right data to the right people at the right time, it will then enable the delivery of public services. With data we can do so much, and the tech to deliver good quality, connected data, consistently and in good time. However, to Prince’s point, without people, the data will have minimal, if any, value. Organisations need both, but people are top priority. 

Trust in data is key, organisations need to consider culture change and diversity when considering data 

There was an overwhelming consensus that people and culture should come first due to the opportunities to drive better evidence-based decision making, intelligent automation and to create new ways of working which doesn’t happen without culture change and better data literacy.  

Public sector organisations have noticed a common theme when it comes to leadership buy in and initiative. There needs to be more emphasis on who is responsible for change and taking into consideration who is at the table so to speak. By creating a diverse community and inviting other roles to take part in the conversation, there is a better understanding of challenges and data management. Furthermore, organisations must consider diversity when considering data looking at women in data and how it creates opportunities for career paths, leading the way within the industry and helping create the foundation of an effective data strategy. Trust should be at the heart of a public sector strategy, with better transparency on decisions made on data collection and analysis, enabling enhanced security and providing safe ways to share data.  

 Using intelligent automation to enhance citizen services 

With data growing at a significant rate and 80% of an organisations data sitting in unstructured, critical formats including complex content types, organisations need to be able to unlock the potential to deliver better outcomes for citizens.  Because of this there is a shift towards the human centric approach to automation where humans and machines can work side by side to enhance skills and vice versa to help automated business processes.  

Intelligent automation can transform the way the public sector works and captures data. The efficiencies that it delivers will allow front line staff to focus on the people that require them the most – aiding better service delivery.  

Using synthetic data as a solution for safe data sharing  

With an understanding of the relevant statistical properties of real-world data “synthetic data” can be created. Being cheaper to create than collecting the volume of datasets required to support deep learning model development and software testing, synthetic data doesn’t compromise customer privacy. Sharing this amongst different teams solving different problems brings a huge advantage, but critically it shouldn’t be one size fits all, understanding the underlying real-world data is key. 

Reducing manual based processes 

David Canning, Head of Digital Knowledge and Information Management from The Cabinet Office discussed how creating a lexicon to find high and low value data avoids the need for staff to read tens of thousands of files and assessing whether these files are worth keeping as historic or corporate value. For example, when referring to ‘Government Ministers,’ a certain set of formal words and phrases are used that hold value. This significantly reduces the need for manual based processes and by using analytics and automation, staff can pinpoint files they’re interested in and identify and remove ROT files.  

Furthermore, David Canning observed that the past moves to EDRM in many cases “failed, it didn’t work because it didn’t take account for human nature, how busy people are.” Deciding what is a record is often “complicated and time consuming, it has got to be simple, it has to be part of the business process, not an addition to it.”  

 Today while “digital data is comprehensive, the counter to this is having too much.” In the department there is legacy information going back to the dawn of Microsoft and beyond, created by IBM software that predates Microsoft Windows. Over the years multiple re-platforming of IT systems has destroyed metadata critical to understanding value and relevancy for archiving.  

Even file plans do not always have logic that makes sense. So analysing content and metadata together is essential and provides the ability to score the information, using a lexicon developed specific to the Cabinet Office. Using the right tool, AI.DATALIFT, has proved its weight in gold helping to assess documents while retaining their original integrity, and saving countless hours for staff from accessing and reviewing the large volume of information coming from disparate sources, in different formats, from across the department.” 

Contact us 

The reality is people need data, people create data, it is part of their day to day in the modern workplace. It is growing in abundance, and without data, and better data management we cannot make better decisions, and ultimately slip into failure demand. 

 If you’d like further information on Automated Intelligence’s Think Data session, “Appraising information for value and risk – empowering decision-making through discovery,” or further information on how we can help you take control of your data, contact us at