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Data and AI

Executive discussion on collaborative data ecosystems for public sector

A conversation between Scott Heald, Director, Data and Digital Innovation at Public Health Scotland, Teresa Girbal, Vice-President and CIO at ESPAP and Pierre-Adrien Hanania, Data and AI for Public Sector Global Leader at Capgemini.

The public sector can tackle complex issues such as climate change or a pandemic if it transforms existing information into an ecosystem of players, technologies, and actions. Research shows that data ecosystems bring benefits: 71% realize reduced costs, 76% improved decision-making, and 79% improved citizen experience.

Early 2023, Capgemini Research Institute published the report Connecting the Dots about the value of mastering the information-led environment – and in the subsequent Data Masters Rendez-Vous event on LinkedIn Live, our guests Scott Heald Director, Data and Digital Innovation at Public Health Scotland, Teresa Girbal, Vice-President and CIO at ESPAP, and Gianfranco Cecconi Chief Solutions Officer at the International Data Spaces Association along with Pierre-Adrien Hanania, Data & AI for Public Sector Global Leader at Capgemini looked at the benefits of deploying data ecosystems in the public sector, but also at the challenges and roadblocks that lay ahead. For the full discussion, please watch the replay of the live event.

What are the learnings from the report that echo your current initiatives? Do you recognize your journey in those insights?

Teresa: I recognize our organization’s journey, but also the public sector in Portugal in maybe all the findings.

“The reality is that the sharing is the journey.”

There are a lot of challenges to overcome, so I believe that this journey has to first start with small steps and then grow and gain the big advantage.

Information sharing and data sharing are complex between the public entities and its agencies. We have implemented an interoperability­ platform for the public administrations of the various entities that needs to share information. Then it is easier for various entities to share information and brings major advantages. It’s not only faster and easier, it’s also much more cost efficient.

Scott: One of the powers that we have in Scotland is our ability to take that data, share the data and then – for us in Public Health Scotland – to use it for analysis purposes, to gather insights around what’s happening across the country.

“I think there’s those two uses around the data sharing: one is for frontline use and the other is being able to use that data for an analysis and research beyond that.”

Within that analysis and research space that we do, a lot of our work in Public Health Scotland is reflected in your report. We’ve just recently launched in Scotland our Health and Care data strategy and one of the things that I highlight is that it’s complex, and one of the reasons why it’s complex is that there’s a lot of legacy systems that are out there. Lots of I.T systems that have been around for many years and in some cases kind of going back to the 1960s. Therefore, it’s important that we understand where we are now and what the priority actions are, that we need to take to make things better for the future.

Does the study reflect on what you see from the maturity of the EU clients and the organizations of the public sector?

Gianfranco: I believe so – what Teresa and Scott are describing is the result of almost of decades of commitment. If you just think about open data the first public sector information directive from the EU, I believe it celebrates 20 years this year which is amazing, and it can come as a surprise to many of us for which sharing is still a bit of an exotic thing, that we are still trying to understand. But in reality, civil servants have been fighting the fight for a very long time and they should be appreciated for that.

In regards to EU data spaces, what can we expect from those data spaces? Do they accelerate data sharing in the public sector, what is your view? 

Gianfranco: A data space is nothing more but a modern model for doing data sharing that is intrinsically sovereign and decentralized sovereign. Meaning that the whole stack from the technology app including the processes and the legal terms by which this kind of environment operates respect profoundly the rights of the organization involved or the privacy of the people. Europe is very attached to the idea of not creating a monopolist in data in the data economy. That is part of the problem we need to protect ourselves from. We have this model of data spaces that Europe is promoting heavily, and the initial supporting action based sector by sector.

“A good data sharing environment does not really have boundaries.”

We should not worry if you’re sharing with France or Germany or if we are sharing between automotive and public sector and health. The idea is that we can ensure the privacy and the sovereignty of the organizations and the security of the data sharing processes while enabling those kind of elements that develop better services to citizens.

Do you have one example where you say “this is the entry point for organizations to tap into?” Where do you see your main benefit behind sharing data?

Teresa: For a finance example, we are responsible for the definition implementation of the electronic invoice for Portugal public administration. This has allowed major cost savings – since the implementation we have been able to save 30 million euros.  Another benefit is the information we collect in the electronic invoice, which is then shared with other financial systems.

Scott: One of the great abilities we’ve got is our ability to link data together and improve outcomes. We can link from across the system, to kind of understand how people are flowing through the health care system and that gives us good insights about what’s happening and what might happen if we were to change particular flows of how patients are treated. There’s some really good insights we can get from the data that can allow us to have targeted interventions in the country, to try and improve what’s going on.

What emerging stakeholders or players do you see?

Scott: The new data strategy we’ve got for Scotland is on that very topic. You know we’re not going to do all of this work around Scotland’s health on our own, so it’s really important that we work across the system. I think the startups industry in general is really important.

I think there’s a whole lot of challenges there about how we get the citizen engaged – there is a big issue about digital inclusion and making sure that we’re not leaving people behind – we have to find ways of targeting people who might not have the ability to buy, for example, a smart watch and or maybe aren’t as interested in what it means for their broader health.

Interested to know more?

Explore our dedicated report from Capgemini Research Institute to get more insights on this topic: Connecting the dots: Data sharing in the public sector.