'Smart data' is at the heart of many of the top ten strategic technology trends that will define 'smart government'.
Analysts at Gartner have compiled a list of notable developments that it believes will drive innovation in all areas of government, buoyed by what is known as the 'nexus of forces' (social, mobile, cloud and information).
Data is evident throughout, although some of the trends are very focused on this asset. The ten outlined by the information technology research and advisory firm are personal mobile workplace, mobile citizen engagement, big data and actionable analytics, cost effective open data and citizen managed data.
Others include the Internet of Things, Cross Domain Interoperability, BPM for Case Management, Gamification for Engagement and Hybrid IT and Cloud.
"Smart government integrates information, communication and operational technologies to planning, management and operations across multiple domains, process areas and jurisdictions to generate sustainable public value," commented Andrea Di Maio, managing vice president at Gartner.
Big data, while inherently useful and powerful, is nevertheless a problem at present because a lack of strategy means government, local and central, is unable to call on existing IT support to successfully capture, analyse and use this asset in the best way possible.
A lot needs to be done to see data managed consistently across the public sector, Gartner noted, and for it to be used more widely. At present, it is mainly concentrated on areas such as fraud, enhancing security, and healthcare management.
So much more can be done though, which will lead to better delivery of services, making certain processes more efficient and, very importantly, helping reduce unnecessary costs.
Still, as Gartner has observed, the public sector is waking up this: "Existing practices that selectively evaluate which data should be integrated are being challenged by the realisation that all data can be integrated with technologies that are specifically developed to do so."