“The Smarter Uncle Sam: The Big Data Forecast” reveals Big Data has the potential to substantially increase efficiency, enable smarter decisions, and, according to Feds, save 14 percent of agency budgets, or nearly $500 billion, across the
Federal government.   “Big Data” may be forgotten in 10 years, but its principles will underpin society.

However, Just 31 Percent Say Their Agency Has an Adequate Big Data Strategy


Alexandria, VA., June 17, 2013 – MeriTalk, an online community and go-to resource for government IT, today announced the results of its new report, “Smarter Uncle Sam:  The Big Data Forecast.”  Based on a survey of 150 Federal IT executives, the study found that Big Data has the potential to transform government by substantially increasing efficiency, enabling smarter decisions, deepening insight, and to saving nearly $500 billion – or 14 percent of agency budgets – across the Federal Government.  Of those surveyed 69 percent of the U.S. feds say Big Data will help create smarter government.

            Big Data Building Blocks:  Agencies are taking steps to prepare for what Big Data has to offer in a largely unchartered territory.  As proof, nearly one-fourth of Federal IT executives have launched at least one Big Data initiative, such as investing in IT systems and solutions to improve data capture, processing and storage, and identifying challenges that Big Data can solve.  Building the foundation for these initiatives, Feds are spending Big Data R&D dollars to:

  • Increase server storage capacity to house and analyze Big Data
  • Determine bandwidth needs for Big Data storage and analytics
  • Invest in advances data mining practices

            Big Data Budget:  31 percent of respondents believe their agency has a sufficient Big Data strategy today- with sequestration budget cuts posing a significant risk to launching new Big Data programs.  When asked about budget as it relates to Big Data, 41 percent are experiencing budget cuts of more than 10 percent as a result of sequestration.  When asked to identify the sequestration casualties Federal IT executives identified the following:

  • 51 percent – training and workforce development
  • 48 percent – hardware upgrades
  • 41 percent – software upgrades
  • 40 percent – new application development

           Future of Big Data:  Looking ahead, Federal IT executives say agencies should significantly increase data management efforts, ideally tagging 46 percent of agency data and analyzing 45 percent.  Recognizing Big Data’s impact on these goals, 70 percent of IT executives believe that in five years successfully leveraging Big Data will be critical to fulfilling Federal mission objectives.  When asked how Big Data will help fulfill Federal missions,

  • 51 percent said Big Data will help improve processes and efficiency
  • 44 percent said Big Data will enhance security
  • 31 percent said Big data will help their agency predict trends

“Big Data is transforming government,” says Rich Campbell, Chief Technologist, at EMC Corporation.  “Each agency needs to first identify how Big Data can support their mission objectives, then assess the infrastructure, the savings opportunity, and start with a pilot project.  There is enormous opportunity ahead for government to apply Big and Fast Data to manage data growth, gain new insights from data, and innovate in ways that weren’t possible before due to technology limitations.  It will enable agencies to be more productive, work smarter and be more agile – to keep up with the pace of change.

“Big Data’s different from other IT initiatives – because it’s not an IT initiative,“ said Steve O’Keeffe, Founder, MeriTalk.  “If assuming the same behavior and expecting a different outcome is the definition of insanity, Big Data may provide the common-sense therapy we need to make better decisions in government.”

The press release can be found at


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