According to Treasury chief information officer Peter Alexander a potential trial is on the cards.
Speaking at Cebit’s big data conference in Sydney today Mr Alexander said that it was important organisations distinguish between what amounted to “biggering” of data – which amounted to traditional analysis of ever larger collections of data - and true big data analysis which would involve analysis of a much broader range of often unstructured and external data sources.
He said that for an organisation like Treasury which had the main objective of forecasting in order to inform policy making, it might be possible to get better trending information by bringing into the mix real time retail, crime or traffic statistics. “You start getting better trending based on real time data,” said Mr Alexander.
He said that at present Treasury models were largely based on historical data. Mr Alexander said that it might be possible to make use of sentiment analysis to get better lead indicators that could be used to shape policy direction.
Mr Alexander said that he did not want to develop an internal search engine, or attempt to index social media himself, but instead believed that there would be services developed that could plug in via an API, such as the CSIRO’s sentiment analysis tools.
CSIRO’s Vizie service has already been trialled by the Department of Human Services to see how it can use the insights in order to provide more targeted information to people. Mr Alexander acknowledged that it was important to pay careful attention to privacy concerns when mining big data for value.