Big data in the public sector: uncertainties and readiness

Bram Klievink, Bart-Jan Romijn, Scott Cunningham, Hans de Bruijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Citations (Scopus)
14 Downloads (Pure)


Big data is being implemented with success in the private sector and science. Yet the public sector seems to be falling behind, despite the potential value of big data for government. Government organizations do recognize the opportunities of big data but seem uncertain about whether they are ready for the introduction of big data, and if they are adequately equipped to use big data. This paper addresses those uncertainties. It presents an assessment framework for evaluating public organizations’ big data readiness. Doing so demystifies the concept of big data, as it is expressed in terms of specific and measureable organizational characteristics. The framework was tested by applying it to organizations in the Dutch public sector. The results suggest that organizations may be technically capable of using big data, but they will not significantly gain from these activities if the applications do not fit their organizations and main statutory tasks. The framework proved helpful in pointing out areas where public sector organizations could improve, providing guidance on how government can become more big data ready in the future.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)267-283
Number of pages7
JournalInformation Systems Frontiers
Issue number2
Early online date15 Aug 2016
Publication statusPublished - 30 Apr 2017


  • big data
  • e-government
  • bold
  • readiness
  • assessment


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