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Big data analytics and its role in elections

big data analytics can play a big role in the results of an election poll, learn more here.

In an increasingly politically aware world, big data analytics is the “trump” card most organisations and movements have when planning election strategies. With great power comes great responsibility and data analytics is a powerful tool that can be utilised to harness and reap a plethora of benefits.

We are seeing politicians use big data analytics to optimise their campaigns. For example, experts and journalists have coined Trump’s campaign a ‘data machine’ powered by AI capable of swinging voters, demonstrating the power of data and analytics systems.

This is not a new phenomenon, since the 50’s every party has used big data analytics to strategise their election campaigns.

Let us look into some of the big data systems and applications that have allowed countries and groups to manipulate the results in their favour.

The first “big” data break

The idea of using data in elections is not new. For example, the Kennedy administration used the “People Machine” to great success. It was, at the time, the largest such project ever conducted and it involved the use of massive data decades before “big data analytics” became a buzzword.

It was during this time that the use of computer simulation, pattern detection and prediction for election campaigns began. Opinion poll data from the archives of pollsters, George Gallup and Elmo Roper, created a model of the US electorate. The information gathered was pivotal in creating relevant strategies and ensuring those votes were coming in. This was seen even further back in our history when data was collected to better understand the masses.

A little bit of data goes a long way

A British “global election management agency” gained global traction because it utilised advanced data analysis along with strategic communication during electoral processes, which proved to be successful. They started in 2013 as an offshoot of the private intelligence company and self-described “global election management agency”. They were essentially in the big data analytics business.

This company used personal data to sway the outcome of the US 2016 presidential election and the UK Brexit referendum. But its reach extends well beyond the UK and US having supported more than 100 campaigns across five continents.

These data methods were used twice to help secure victory for Kenyan President Uhuru Kenyatta – first in 2013, then again in 2017. Officially, the company’s website boasts of doing in-depth research to uncover the issues driving voters in the country. They rebranded the entire party twice, wrote the manifesto, did research and finalised the messaging. They essentially created the platform, basing it on their findings derived from big data analytics to curate what the masses exactly wanted to see.

Jacinda Ardern – the Prime Minister in New Zealand – utilised big data analytics to bridge the gap between her policies and her voters, which swayed the constituents to her side and secured a second term, highlighting the importance of analytics in both elections and policy-making (although, it should be noted, that the Prime Minister’s aim was to refine her policies).

Big data analytics- A great and powerful tool

If we gauge anything, it is that these big data analytics platforms are mere tools and can be used for so much good, on the flipside of the coin, in a nefarious manner, if we are not cautious.

However, not all campaigns set out to exploit big data analytics platforms, we see politicians utilising such data to know where their possible voters could originate from, cross-reference them with the topics supported by the candidate and use the feedback to refine their policies.

The future of big data analytics in elections

If current trends are any indication, future election campaigns will be further entrenched in data analysis methods so as to glean the best approaches, efforts and results. Data analytics will be used much after the campaigns as well, with it being an integral part of understanding and flagging problems plaguing different population sections.

Data analytics has evolved itself to become the brain of every election campaign since the early 2000s. Data analytics helps the election campaign committee understand the voters better and adapt their policies to their sentiments, demonstrating the versatility of analytics platforms.

To know more about the ways big data analytics and its value in different industries, please visit our website.

SAS software for government and public services

SAS software for government analytics cannot be ignored, given the value it brings to its support services, learn why we think so here.

Far too often, we get caught up in the discourse of placing data and analytics as a tool for businesses and other revenue-generating institutions. While the businesses and the private sector, in general, are valuable components of modern society, one thing we cannot ignore is the value analytics presents to the public sector. This is where the powerful application of SAS software for government analytics can play a big role.

Why? Well, for starters, no matter where you are or what type of government institution you operate within, data has the ability to add tremendous volumes of value to even your most basic function. Given that the public sector is, by far, one of the largest segments in operation, it comprises many sub-segments that oversee several vital functions. From healthcare provision to security and criminal justice to meet the needs of citizens and much more, the public sector has many institutions that could benefit significantly from analytics leveraged via powerful platforms like SAS software for government.

For purposes of this blog, however, we focus on two specific institutional areas where SAS software for government analytics can play a big role – citizen service provision and healthcare.

Why SAS software for government analytics is helpful

As governments are increasingly forced to move down the path of greater transparency and visibility, access to information is a topic that is frequently discussed. Access to information isn’t just important for purposes of transparency – it also helps in cost reduction and savings. With SAS software, governments and their institutions will have unprecedented access to a wide array of data points.

In addition to this, during the era of data breach upon data breach, data security is a major concern for many. After all, what good is data if you cannot control whether or not it is used in a malicious manner. Via powerful software offered by SAS, data security is something that organisations can bank on.

Finally, while there are many platforms available that streamline analytics processes, very few offer the ease of integration that SAS software does. With the ability to easily integrate with a plethora of systems, whether existing, on-premise, or cloud-based, SAS’ powerful analytics platform provides unparalleled versatility.

By combining this unique mix of comprehensive access to information, strong security controls, and easy integration, governments and other institutions benefit significantly from SAS software.

How do SAS services and software support citizen service provision?

With population levels at historical highs (this trend is expected to continue), governments are under incredible pressure when it comes to effectively providing state-driven services. Additionally, as the political landscape is continuously shifting, leaders need access to information that provides insight into where public perception is, which they can then use to drive policy.

Comprehensive data on demographic, citizen requirements and other trends allow lawmakers the ability to drive specific services to regions that need them the most. Gone are the days when institutions needed to depend on months worth of painstaking surveys and, often, erroneous data. Today, with SAS software, governments can access data in real-time to fully gauge where they need to be focusing on.

This level of foresight allows decision-makers access to insights that could serve as precursors or early indicators of potential challenges – giving them the opportunity to be proactive as opposed to being reactive to crises.

Analytics for targeted healthcare provision

While medicine is in a state of continuous improvement, with new treatments being researched and developed every day, the enhancements are met with rising costs – especially when it comes to providing healthcare to the public. If unplanned, healthcare programs could lose millions of dollars and have very little impact, which is why analytics-driven approaches are so vital.

With SAS software, decision-makers will have access to a wealth of information that divulges where healthcare is required the most, where the disparities lie, and what specific requirements are needed by certain demographics. By leveraging this scale of visibility, healthcare administrators will be able to uphold the highest levels of transparency by sharing region-specific information with the public – thereby ensuring greater public trust and faith in the healthcare system.

Analytics platforms like SAS also pave the way for powerful investigative capabilities that include the rapid detection of fraudulent, wasteful, and abusive activity. These insights play a pivotal role in reducing the number of improper and fraudulent payments issues, which can total millions of dollars every year in certain facilities.

As governments continue to rely on more data points over time, powerful platforms like SAS will play a major role in making sure they are generating the right insights. To complement this, support SAS services in the form of administration, installation, and hosting services are equally beneficial because they give institutions that lack in-house expertise access to teams of SAS experts who can support all SAS configuration and management tasks.

If you would like to know more about our SAS services, our company and our work with SAS, in addition to how you can leverage our SAS administration, installation, and hosting services, feel free to reach out to us or stay tuned to this feed.