Predictive, personalised citizen services are becoming the ‘new normal’. Singapore’s LifeSG mobile application provides suggestions for relevant citizen services at key moments in their life – such as the birth of a child, the passing of a loved one, or buying a new home.

A one-size-fits-all approach to designing citizen services cannot work. Having fast access to secure and relevant data powers the personalised and responsive services that citizens expect today.

Elastic’s search technology and solutions makes it easier for governments to develop a robust data regime which can surface relevant insights from large volumes of data, at speed and at scale, with three key approaches:

1. Search

Information relating to citizens and services commonly reside in many different formats. These include log, network, geospatial, structured, text-based and cybersecurity data.

Search technologies enable agencies to surface and report that data, in areas such as economic forecasting, medical data analysis and identifying risks to public safety.

In the United States, the City of Portland, Oregon uses Elastic to power its website search, so that residents and city employees can locate vital information and access applications supporting online payments, business license registrations and stormwater calculations.

The Naval Criminal Investigative Service (NCIS) Cyber Directorate uses Elastic to process evidence of cyber crimes, in the form of log files, and analyse its impact on efficient law enforcement.

2. Observability

Public services need to be up and running 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Citizens need to access them, from home, whenever it’s convenient – without the need for lengthy telephone calls or in-person visits to government offices.

Elastic’s Observability solution makes it possible for IT admins to quickly detect, diagnose, and resolve issues with real-time performance monitoring. Automation powered by machine learning, meanwhile, can enable systems to automatically identify problems, so that IT admins can concentrate on more complex issues.

The Will County Sheriff’s Office in Illinois, for example, uses the Elastic Stack for network monitoring and security, as well as analysing operations at the Will County Adult Detention Facility and for crime analysis.

3. Security

Citizens use government digital services trusting that the agencies with which they share their data will protect it and keep it safe. Public-sector bodies can’t afford to let them down, which is why many are beefing up their cybersecurity stances, at a time when criminals are taking advantage of the worldwide disruption triggered by the Covid-19

Machine learning plays a big role as it can be used to automate security vulnerability detections, freeing up IT security specialists for more analytical tasks. At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, the US’s largest multi-programme science and technology lab, cybersecurity specialists are using Elastic’s security technologies as the foundation for a centralised data hub for security-related information. The technology has enabled them to spot suspicious activity on IT infrastructure and deal with it fast.

Now more than ever, data is key to the success of government digital services. With that in mind, it’s time for agencies in both local and central government to ensure they have the tools at their disposal that will enable them to deliver the best services – and outcomes – for the people that they serve.