10-step guide to public sector digital transformation

 

The former chief executive of ITS America has given a tub thumping lesson in data analytics, exhorting the public sector to get into gear and join forces to take on technology giants that could be taking advantage of them.

Scott Belcher (pictured), who now is an independent consultant, gave delegates at Traffex Scotland the benefit of his expert advice after spending seven years at the helm of the top advocacy group for intelligent transport systems in the USA.

”Local

He also served as executive vice president and general counsel at the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA).

Pointing to the power of data analytics and computer learning, he cited work he had done with Waycare Technologies in Nevada through collating data in cloud storage and running algorithms on it.

‘We were able to reduce incidents by 17%, and we did it on an hour by hour basis. We looked at five years of history and we were able to tell you where incidents were most likely to happen at any given time. What we did was really not rocket science,’ he said.

‘We put an empty police car in that space and put a sign a mile up the road saying ‘danger ahead’ and we drove down incidents. We drove down speeding by 85%. We increased incidents response times by 12 minutes. Think about how many lives are saved.’

The system also allowed the highway administration to locate incidents better and have more efficient deployment of resources.

A similar system using telematics and fleet data is also being set up in Ohio, US, to help tackle issues around rural transport.

After this introduction, Mr Belcher gave an unrestrained plea to local authorities to get up to speed on data analytics.

10 step guide to public sector data 

  1. Data is valuable but it is even more valuable the more opportunities you have to deploy it, and the more you network it. Networked connected data is much more valuable that data in isolation.
  2. Effective data management is hard. It is more than just a database. It is systems, processes security, platforms analytics. It is not what our current organisations are set up to do. And if you are not setting up your organisation to deal with that now you are going to be left behind.
  3. If you try to negotiate with Google or other big companies as a public agency you lose every time. You don’t have the negotiating power. So you have to become a collective - what I call a ‘data intermediary’; an entity that has enough bandwidth and enough size so that they can negotiate with the private sector on equivalent terms.
  4. Do not let perfection be the enemy of the good. Your IT people will tell you we can’t do that the data is not good enough, it’s not structured in the right way. It’s all bullshit. Any data is good. When they say it won’t work don’t believe them. Be agile and allow failures in order to innovate.
  5. You can make value out of data. Don’t be afraid. Every public agency is probably giving away data because it is in the public good. Yes it is, but it is also of value, don’t just give it away make sure you get something for it.
  6. If the data is proprietary, the vendors will say you can’t use that. Look at your contracts, proprietary data can be used with the right permission and it can be used in an open environment. You need to think about changing your relationship with your vendors and you need to stop buying proprietary hardware and software. Those days are going to end. There is a reckoning coming.
  7. When they tell you it will take months and huge amounts of cash to write APIs don’t believe them. Data engineers do this in their sleep.
  8. Do a data audit – what do you have, what are you using it for, where is it coming from, do you know who is getting it?
  9. You are probably giving data to tech companies, and they are selling it back to you. Find out what you are buying.
  10. Start hiring MBAs, data engineers, and data scientists rather than just structural or civil engineers. You are going to be managing data and you need people who are trained to do that. It is a different way of thinking about the world but it is going to be our lifeblood.

Register now for full access


Register just once to get unrestricted, real-time coverage of the issues and challenges facing UK transport and highways engineers.

Full website content includes the latest news, exclusive commentary from leading industry figures and detailed topical analysis of the highways, transportation, environment and place-shaping sectors. Use the link below to register your details for full, free access.

Already a registered? Login

 
comments powered by Disqus
 
 
highways jobs

Waste Projects Officer

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£29,738 - £36,036 depending on skills
Do you have skills and experience relevant to local authorities, waste management and/or managing projects? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Senior Environmental Health Officer (Environmental Protection)

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£33,799 - £35,934
This role is in the Pollution and Noise Control team, leading the Majors and Project Support team... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Project/Programme Manager (Construction) - 4 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£42,683 - £44,632
This is an exciting and challenging time and we want to expand our team to manage and deliver construction related projects, to achieve... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Community Environmental Support Officer x 5 Jobs

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £21,166
You will work as part of a team tackling personal, nuisance and environmental anti-social behaviour to improve the quality of life for... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Environmental Health Officers within Environmental Protection, Health and Safety and Food Safety

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£30,507 - £32,878
We expect candidates to have expertise or qualifications in one or more of the relevant areas of Air Quality, Acoustics and/or Contaminated Land. Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Assistant Director

Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council
£92,826 - £111,231
This is an ideal opportunity for an expert waste management professional to make a real impact and to lead the service to outstanding. Fulham, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Hammersmith & Fulham London Borough Council

Environmental Health Officer and Grad EHO – Private Sector Housing with benefits*

Camden London Borough Council
£33,122 - £42,490
Exciting opportunity for a highly organised and enthusiastic Environment Health Officer or a newly qualified graduate working towards... Camden, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Camden London Borough Council

Director of Inclusive Growth and Public Sector Reform

West Midlands Combined Authority
£110,000
The role requires someone with a talent for innovation and a passion for designing and implementing public services. West Midlands Region
Recuriter: West Midlands Combined Authority

Vehicle Technician x3

Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council
£24,313 - £28,785 per annum
All Candidates must hold a clean category C driving licence (CPC not required). Sandwell, West Midlands
Recuriter: Sandwell Metropolitan Borough Council

Ugobus Driver (multiple positions)

Essex County Council
Up to £18938.0 per annum
Primary locations will include Clacton and Harlow only. Please note that we have permanent, fixed term and relief contract opportunities on a part tim England, Essex, Chelmsford
Recuriter: Essex County Council

Corporate Director of Neighbourhoods and Climate Change

Durham County Council
£148,583
You will manage a range of front-line services including bins and waste, transport, environmental health, technical services, partnerships and... Durham (County)
Recuriter: Durham County Council

Tenancy Enforcement Assistant

Royal Borough of Greenwich
£22.377 - £23.607
Looking for individuals who have an interest in the environment with good customer service skills, flexible approach to work and a good team player. Greenwich, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Royal Borough of Greenwich

Head of Programme Management Office

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
As the Head of PMO, you will define and maintain standards for project management within the Highways Service. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Highways Development Specialist

Manchester City Council
£60,857 to £65,865
Seeking a highly capable strategic leader to join the team to develop our strategic pipeline of works and financial model. Manchester, Greater Manchester
Recuriter: Manchester City Council

Civil Engineering Technician Apprentice

London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth
£214 per week
Are you looking to gain vital work experience as an Apprentice? London (Greater)
Recuriter: London Borough of Richmond upon Thames and London Borough of Wandsworth

Assistant Planner/Planner

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
£19,554 - £32,878
The ideal candidate will already have... Kirklees, West Yorkshire
Recuriter: Kirklees Metropolitan Council

Principal Engineer

Liverpool City Council
£37,849 - £42,683
The successful candidate will... Liverpool, Merseyside
Recuriter: Liverpool City Council

Environmental Health Officer (Food, Health & Safety) & Environmental Health Technical Officer

Dacorum Borough Council
£24,710 to £39,034
You will be highly motivated and be expected to deliver against a challenging work plan. London (Greater)
Recuriter: Dacorum Borough Council

Director of Public Health

Worcestershire County Council
Competitive Salary
We’ll look to you to take responsibility for the high-calibre delivery of... Worcestershire
Recuriter: Worcestershire County Council

Street Cleansing Operative Driver (Large Goods Vehicles)

Redbridge London Borough Council
£22,377 to £23,607
We are looking to recruit staff for both our day service and evening service. Redbridge, London (Greater)
Recuriter: Redbridge London Borough Council