Rashmi Krishnamurthy and I have a paper accepted for publication in Information Polity. The paper, Big Data Analytics: The Case of the Social Security Administration, is one of the many case studies conducted during my research for my report on Big Data, published by the IBM Center for the Business of Government.
Public agencies are investing significant resources in big data analytics to mine valuable information, predict future outcomes, and make data-driven decisions. In order to foster a strong understanding of the opportunities and challenges associated with the adoption of big data analytics in the public sphere, we analyze various efforts undertaken by the United States Social Security Administration (SSA). The SSA, which is commonly referred to as the “face of the government,” collects, manages, and curates large volumes of data to provide Social Security services to US citizens and beneficiaries living abroad. The agency has made great strides in the burgeoning big data space to improve administration and delivery of services. This has included: (1) improving its arcane legacy system, (2) developing employee and end-user capability, (3) implementing data management strategies and organizational architecture, (4) managing security and privacy issues, and (5) advocating for increased investment in big data analytics. Despite these efforts, the SSA is still in the early stages of developing capability in the domain of big data analytics. By outlining challenges and opportunities facing the SSA, we discuss policy implications and explore issues to consider when public agencies begin to develop the capacity to analyze big data.
The paper is scheduled to appear later this year, in Vol. 19, Issue 3.