Anticipating society's needs

Government Market Segment Manager, IBM

I have many unpleasant memories of waiting in line at the Department of Motor Vehicles. Every time I had to renew my driver’s license, or register my car, I had to spend hours waiting in long lines. Often, when I finally reached the front of the line, I was told that I really needed to be in a different line; grumbling ensued. The DMV was inefficiently responding to demand from citizens like myself.

Fortunately, these days, I can register my car and renew my license through the DMV website. It’s simple and efficient, and if, for some reason, I have to go to the office, I can make an appointment online for a specific day and time and greatly reduce any waiting. The DMV is able to anticipate what the demand will be and schedule accordingly. This is a small example of how government can improve and better serve its citizens.


It’s no secret that today’s environment presents significant economic and budgetary pressures for governments. At the same time, citizens are increasingly expecting their governments to provide better services. All governments are looking for ways to become more efficient while reducing costs; in a word, they need to transform.

This is obviously a tall order. A key path to transformation lies with moving from a model of responding to citizen needs, to a much more efficient model of anticipating citizen needs. The good news is that big data and analytics are playing a very big role in this transformation, and IBM is helping governments around the world to do just that. Read on for some key examples of government agencies from around the world who have truly transformed their operations with IBM Big Data & Analytics.

European city social services agency

This metropolitan area in Northern Europe struggled to accurately evaluate welfare claims and equitably distribute benefits and services to citizens. They needed a better way to collect and analyze citizen data to allocate benefits, prevent fraud and help the system run more efficiently.

They deployed an IBM solution featuring predictive modeling capabilities that provide a holistic profile of each citizen, revealing complex relationships among recipients, households and programs. The solution mines and analyzes a wide range of applicant data, and then plugs the data sets into analytic models based on existing rules for approving or denying applications. The agency is able then to identify legitimate claims and redirect case workers to further assess cases only when necessary. The agency then models different scenarios to predict possible changing needs as well as to prevent potential fraud. It can now more accurately determine which citizens qualify for which benefits and can evaluate thousands of applications in seconds. In fact, they reduced benefit claims processing from ten hours to just five seconds!

National tax agency in Asia

This agency which is responsible for tax collection, employs tens of thousands of people in hundreds of field offices, and processes millions of returns annually. A decentralized, outdated tax management system prevented tax officers from rapidly and accurately processing tax returns and detecting discrepancies between taxes collected and taxes reportedly deposited with banks. Due to a lack of insight into taxpayer characteristics and behaviors, the agency was unable to take proactive measures to facilitate compliance. 

The IBM solution integrates data from millions of electronic tax returns with deposited receipts from authorized banks. Then, using embedded business logic, the solution dynamically determines which returns can be automatically approved, which have errors that can be resolved through automated business workflows and which require in-depth investigation. The result has been a 99 percent faster identification of potential tax evaders and 100 percent of tax returns processed quickly and accurately. 

U.S. City Police Department

The constantly changing crime patterns in this city created challenges as the police department struggled to deploy its patrol officers and other resources most effectively to prevent, deter and solve crime. 

The department adopted an IBM solution that captures, integrates and analyzes crime and other information, including 911 call records, crime records, event information, public transportation routes, code enforcement and building permit activity, from a broad range of government agencies and social media sources.  It also provides a unified view of crime information, displayed on custom analytic dashboards.   

The department is then able to use multiple analytic techniques (including pattern recognition and discovery, factor and causality analysis, and anomaly detection) to help identify where to deploy resources for maximum impact in deterring crime.  With these tools and processes, patrol officers are learning how to spot trends, anticipate where crimes may occur and ensure that the right resources are in the right places, making the city safer.

All three of these examples point to the power of big data and analytics to fundamentally transform how governments operate and serve their citizens. Get more information about IBM Big Data & Analytics and see how it's changing the face of government.