Colorado takes a big data play from ‘Moneyball’


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Governing Magazine reports: The hit movie details how the Oakland Athletics baseball team analyzed patterns and huge sets of data to improve their record. Colorado is doing the same to improve public policy.

It’s an intriguing idea to combine Big Data analytics with government transparency and evidence-based decision making to uncover hidden patterns and surface new insights to tackle complex problems.

Can “big data” help state education systems produce students who are more successful in the workforce? Colorado is about to find out.

Big data refers to the analysis of huge information sets—and the concept is picking up steam as organizations get better at capturing facts and figures about what they do, and as technology gets more adept at crunching that material into something useful. The idea, as anyone who’s seen the hit movie Moneyball knows, is to uncover relationships and patterns hidden in mountains of information, and use those insights to make better decisions and gain a competitive advantage.

Colorado officials say connecting the dots on data collected by multiple government programs ultimately may offer an entirely new perspective on public policy decisions. But for now, they’re moving cautiously. “We’re going to roll this out in baby steps,’ says Colorado CTO Sherri Hammons, adding that the state is paying close attention to security and privacy laws like the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act.

But if they get it right, big data could completely change the game.

Any advice from the Big Data folk?