Published on November 8, 2023, 11:28 pm

A recent report from the Capgemini Research Institute titled “Connecting the Dots: Data sharing in the public sector” has shed light on the growing trend of collaborative data ecosystems in public sector organizations. The report revealed that 80% of surveyed public sector organizations worldwide have started implementing initiatives to create collaborative data ecosystems. This recognition highlights the need for a unified, data-driven approach to address the complex challenges faced by these organizations.

While many organizations are still in the early stages of implementation, those that have already deployed or are in the process of deploying data ecosystems are experiencing significant benefits. Effective data sharing has led to an improved citizen experience and better data-driven policymaking. These benefits can be seen across various functional areas, such as administration, security and defense, tax and customs, and welfare.

For example, a majority (81%) of local, state, and central administrations that have implemented or are implementing data ecosystems reported improved citizen engagement and sustainability roadmaps. Additionally, 93% of respondents noted an increase in open government. Citizens also benefit from enhanced government services, including targeted delivery of welfare programs for vulnerable individuals and improved public safety with police departments reporting better juridical implementation and response times.

Furthermore, the report highlights that 74% of surveyed public sector organizations with deployed or deploying data ecosystems have experienced improved resilience against cyber threats. This emphasizes the importance of secure data sharing in maintaining robust cybersecurity measures within these organizations.

Despite these positive findings, there are ongoing challenges that hinder wider adoption of collaborative data ecosystems in the public sector. Barriers related to trust, culture, and technology remain significant obstacles. For instance, more than half (56%) of respondents face trust-related challenges, including citizen resistance to sharing data and concerns about the quality of shared data.

Additionally, talent plays a crucial role in successful implementation. Public sector organizations require skilled professionals who possess expertise in managing data privacy as well as artificial intelligence (AI) skills. However, only 55% of organizations reported having trained employees on the ethical use of citizen data, indicating the need for comprehensive skilling programs.

To address data privacy concerns, it is essential to embed security and privacy measures into the design of collaborative data ecosystems. This includes implementing strong governance structures, data mesh architectures, and leveraging privacy-enhancing technologies (PETs) like differential privacy, federated learning, and homomorphic encryption. These technologies can help balance the benefits of data sharing with the imperative to protect individuals’ privacy.

As Marc Reinhardt, the global industry leader for the public sector at Capgemini, stated: “Creating a culture where decision-making is informed by real-time data is a long-term journey. All players in the data ecosystem must have trust and confidence. But the measurable benefits to citizens’ experience and government efficiency show that data sharing improves outcomes.”

In conclusion, collaborative data ecosystems are becoming increasingly prevalent in public sector organizations as they recognize the value of a unified approach to tackle complex challenges. While challenges remain, the benefits of effective data sharing are evident in improved citizen experiences and more informed policymaking. By addressing hurdles related to trust, culture, and technology while fostering talent development and utilizing privacy preservation technologies , public sector organizations can maximize the potential of collaborative data ecosystems for better outcomes.

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