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"Big Data" Can Save Money and Lives Say Government IT Officials

Survey Reveals Great Potential for Big Data in Government, But There Are Barriers to Adoption

WASHINGTON, Feb. 20, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- "Big Data" and other analytical tools have great potential to make governments more efficient and improve citizens' lives, particularly in health and public safety sectors. A new study released by the TechAmerica Foundation and commissioned by SAP AG (NYSE: SAP), revealed that 87 percent of federal IT officials and 75 percent of state IT officials say Big Data can have real and immediate impacts on how governments operate.

The survey of nearly 200 public IT officials, conducted by renowned pollsters, Penn Schoen and Berland, found that 83 percent of federal IT officials say Big Data solutions can help government cut the federal budget by at least 10 percent, or $380 billion. Those surveyed also believe that Big Data can save lives, for example by improving medical treatments.

Key Findings:

Big Data Has Potential to Save Lives and Money
The study cites a number of ways the use of Big Data can benefit the public sector, including:

  • Substantial budget cuts: Federal IT officials say real-time analytics of Big Data can help the government cut at least 10 percent annually from the federal budget, or about $1,200 per American, for example by detecting improper healthcare payments before they occur.
  • Lifesaving potential: According to 87 percent of federal IT officials and 75 percent of state IT officials, the use of real-time Big Data solutions will save a significant number of lives each year. For example, medical researchers can aggregate information about healthcare outcomes to reveal patterns that lead to more effective treatments and detection of outbreaks.
  • Crime reduction: 75 percent of state IT officials see the practical benefits of Big Data in medicine and public safety as extremely beneficial. Police departments are currently using Big Data technology to develop predictive models about when and where crimes are likely to occur, helping dramatically reduce the overall crime rate in specific locations.
  • Enhanced quality of life: Real-time Big Data is helping the government improve the quality of citizens' lives, according to 75 percent of federal IT officials. For example, by gaining insight into huge volumes of data across agencies, the government can provide improved, personalized services to citizens.

Big Data Faces Barriers to Adoption
While Big Data technology is expected to offer citizens significant benefits, the survey also reveals cultural and practical barriers to adoption, including:

  • Privacy concerns: The biggest barrier for taking advantage of Big Data is privacy concerns, according to 47 percent of federal IT officials. Officials believe the challenge will be explaining that Big Data analytics is not equivalent to "Big Brother."
  • High costs: 39 percent of federal and state IT officials worry about the expense of new tools and the level of investment needed.
  • Return on investment (ROI): A lack of clarity about Big Data's level of ROI is a barrier for 42 percent of federal IT officials.
  • Long process: Across both state and federal IT officials, about 40 percent say database queries take too long using traditional database technology. 

"The findings from this study underscore the infinite potential of Big Data and reaffirm the findings of our Big Data Commission," said Jennifer Kerber, president of the TechAmerica Foundation. "That governments can save money and improve their service to citizens is clear from this study but it's also clear that we must find ways to overcome adoption barriers – quickly."

"The ongoing budget debates in Washington and many state capitals are a useful moment to appreciate what big data tools can do for government," said Jennifer Morgan, president of SAP Public Services.  "By combining disparate sources of data and analyzing them in real time, government leaders and citizens can turn 'Big Data' into 'smart data' and gain a much clearer picture of how to save taxpayer dollars and even save lives.  Practical concerns such as costs, consumer privacy, and return on investment must be addressed carefully so that we can gain the enormous benefits of using Big Data tools." 

To learn more, see the complete survey results click here and view an infographic depicting the survey results.

About TechAmerica Foundation
TechAmerica Foundation educates industry executives, policy makers and opinion leaders on the promise of technological innovation to advance prosperity, security and the general welfare. Launched in 1981, the Foundation is a 501c(3) non-profit, non-partisan affiliate of TechAmerica, which is the leading voice and resource for the U.S. technology industry. The Foundation disseminates award-winning industry, policy and market research covering topics such as U.S. competitiveness in a global economy, innovation in government, and other areas of national interest. It also organizes conferences and seminars to explore pertinent issues with government and industry representatives and to share the Foundation's findings. Learn more about TechAmerica Foundation at

SAP and all SAP logos are trademarks or registered trademarks of SAP AG in Germany and in several other countries. All other product and service names mentioned are the trademarks of their respective companies.

SAP Forward-looking Statement
Any statements contained in this document that are not historical facts are forward-looking statements as defined in the U.S. Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. Words such as "anticipate," "believe," "estimate," "expect," "forecast," "intend," "may," "plan," "project," "predict," "should" and "will" and similar expressions as they relate to SAP are intended to identify such forward-looking statements. SAP undertakes no obligation to publicly update or revise any forward-looking statements. All forward-looking statements are subject to various risks and uncertainties that could cause actual results to differ materially from expectations The factors that could affect SAP's future financial results are discussed more fully in SAP's filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission ("SEC"), including SAP's most recent Annual Report on Form 20-F filed with the SEC. Readers are cautioned not to place undue reliance on these forward-looking statements, which speak only as of their dates.

SOURCE TechAmerica Foundation

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