Transcript: How to Harness the Power of Data
The Government of Canada's data holdings are some of the most valuable assets Canadians have. As public servants, this data provides us a better understanding of the communities we serve, and enables us to make more informed decisions. Accurate and timely data combined with a data literate workforce will help us to tackle today's tough problems, assess the impact of policies and programs and respond effectively to emergencies.
The Government of Canada is revolutionizing the way it works with data. The declining cost of computer power and data storage, means that Canadian public servants can afford to have powerful data analysis software at their fingertips, allowing them to access and analyze an increasing wealth of data.
What is Data?
Essentially, data can be defined as facts or figures about any object or phenomena. Data comes in different forms - it can be structured in an organized dataset such as an excel spreadsheet, or unstructured like text files, images or PDF documents. Data is created every time a human interacts with a machine. Unlike other assets that depreciate over time, the more data is used, the more valuable it becomes!
We often consider anecdotal evidence when making a decision like an experience of a colleague or the story of a friend. While anecdotal evidence can be accurate, insights derived from good quality data can provide a more complete picture of the situation. Data can help us find patterns and insights that we couldn't have seen otherwise, and use them to make better decisions. As more and more data becomes available to us as public servants, it is our responsibility to unlock its value.
Here are four tips to help you harness the power of data in your work:
- Know the data landscape in your organization. Read your organizational data strategy.
- Explore the Discover Data learning path to get familiar with data concepts, terminology and practices.
- Sign up for the GC Data Community newsletter. The GC Data Community was created to connect, engage and support the growing community of data practitioners. Their monthly newsletter highlights learning and training opportunities, and other great information on data in the GC.
- Visit open.canada.ca to learn more about what data and digital records are available to the public.
Everyone has a role to play with data. Whether we create it, analyze it, protect it or share it, public servants at every level must understand its value and learn to incorporate it into our daily work.