Big data analytics to finally add up for NSW govt?

A datacentre consolidation project could see big data analytics finally become accessible and affordable for departments and agencies big and small, thanks to the cloud.

Big data analytics adoption has been predicted to accelerate across NSW government agencies, thanks to the state government's current datacentre consolidation and cloud marketplace initiatives.

Peter Hong, general manager public sector at Teradata ANZ, told ZDNet that the NSW government had been "pretty canny" in the way it designed and carried out its datacentre consolidation project and in its move to two state-of-the-art datacentres.

"That's because shared infrastructure leads to amortised costs, so the lower cost of entry for a government agency — particularly at the state level — leads to a greater proliferation of [analytics] technology, which will deliver [agencies] many more insights from their data," he said.

Teradata is one of three initial providers, alongside cloud broker AC3 and networking services provider NextGen, to take up residence in the NSW government's datacentre cloud marketplace .

Hong said that the shared infrastructure approach within the government's Silverwater and Unanderra datacentres would provide lower cost infrastructure to not just agencies, but also vendors and service providers who take up residency in the government's datacentre cloud marketplace.

"The big influence in our decision was the sense of greater affordability," Hong said. "Now, we have a shared private cloud, which means that we only need a single centre to provide support for a lot of agencies. Therefore, the cost of entry is significantly lower, which means many more potential customers can afford to analyse their data and gain insights from it."

In addition, Hong said Teradata's decision to become an early adopter in the government's datacentre was also influenced by a growing sense that the state government is warming to the value proposition of big data analytics.

"We get the feeling that the state government really want to gain insights from their data," he said. "Commercial industry has known for some time that if you target particular customer groups for insights, that leads to a greater understanding of your marketplace, and therefore you gain competitive edge.

"The O'Farrell government in particular has been very focused on service delivery, so for us, it was a pretty easy decision around providing the technology in one of these new datacentres, and giving access to various agencies a cloud offering without the need for them to buy the technology."

Hong said there were a number of potential analytics projects, particularly in health and education, which could emerge at the state level thanks to the increased access to analytics tools.

"State government will be able to use not only health activity-based statements to agree on funding and forecasting of patients, but also, if you start to use geospatial applications, you can work in tandem with where you have ageing populations and start to forecast where health services are most needed," he said.

Similarly, combining geospatial data with birth rate data could also be used to predict the need for educational infrastructure such as primary schools and daycare facilities.

"There is a lot of data around government that can be brought together for forecasting of population growth," Hong said. "It is not a big step to bring data together ... to help identify where better health needs to be, particularly in rural areas because there is less infrastructure available. That leads to better economies of scale, and in commercial terms, better bang for your buck."