Government citizen services

Data-driven government's goal: Personalized service

The federal government needs to move toward a more data-driven approach that harnesses cloud computing, big data analytics and reusable components to deliver more customized and personalized services to citizens, according to a government chief technology officer.

“I think the government is strong in the area of data collection,” but needs to derive more value from data through business intelligence and advanced analytics, said Ajay Budhraja, chief technology officer of a component in the Justice Department.

The advantage of the cloud is it accelerates time to market and faster delivery, allowing agencies to deploy applications faster.  An evolving trend agency IT managers should take note of is the evolution of integrated platforms for big data, cloud and shared services, Budhraja said. 

Closely tied to this trend is the focus on process automation and integration of different data sources such as databases, Web services and disparate files. Dashboards, visualization tools and portals have become the most common interfaces by which users can access data from different data sources.

As a result of the integration of process automation, services and data, agencies need an overarching information architecture that will accommodate cross-agency and partner communications, he said.

Budhraja, who is also federal co-chair for the SOA Community of Practice, described the changing technology landscape during a presentation at the 14 SOA in E-Government Summit held in October at Mitre headquarters in McLean, Va.  He later spoke with GCN in depth about the changes and offered a 5-point plan to help government agencies prepare for and take advantage of the changing technology environment.

Advanced analytics and business intelligence offers the government the opportunity to provide citizens with personalized information, Budhraja said. Lots of data is being generated by social networks such as Twitter. Many commercial organizations are extracting and analyzing that information to deliver more personalization and customization to customers. 

“In the future government should work in that direction,” providing information to users based on their location and preferences, Budhraja said. However, the customized information would be based on information that the consumer provides.  For example, a person could say, “Hey, I live in this city in Virginia, and I need information for my location from the federal or state government. Here is what I’m interested in. Please send it to me.”  That way the person doesn’t have to sift through a lot of different sources, trying to find relevant information, Budhraja noted.

Budhraja’s five-point plan to help agencies adapt to this new world of integration — Web services, big data, cloud mobility and social networks — and customer personalization includes:

  1. Establish a technology blueprint with the strategy and vision and then incorporate supporting technologies.
  2. Focus on innovation, agility and effective management of technologies such as cloud, virtualization, shared services, big data and mobility. Develop cross-agency enterprise platforms that focus on integrated life-cycle management.
  3. Realize cost savings through prioritization, reuse and technology reviews.
  4. Ensure technology alignment with federal directives and agency goals. Also, conduct continuous monitoring of the results.
  5. Focus on enterprisewide integrated and standardized solutions with effective governance and change management.


About the Author

Rutrell Yasin is is a freelance technology writer for GCN.


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