Winning With Data in the Fight Against Fraud, Waste, and Abuse - Cloudera Blog

Winning With Data in the Fight Against Fraud, Waste, and Abuse - Cloudera Blog

Fraud, waste, and abuse (FWA) in government is a constant, multi-billion dollar issue that challenges agency leaders at all levels and across all sectors, from healthcare to education to taxation to Social Security.

The scope and scale of public spending—federal outlays alone were approximately $6.6 trillion in fiscal year 2020 according to the Congressional Budget Office—make FWA an inherently difficult problem to solve. The pandemic has made the problem even more complex, as agencies had to scramble to properly distribute some $4 trillion in federal and state COVID-19 relief funds.

This exacerbated issues that were already in place. Namely, agency leaders and staff lack the modernized data infrastructure and tooling needed to fight FWA with such massive amounts of money and data flowing through their agencies. Approximately half of the respondents in a 2021Thomson Reuters Institute studysaid they weren’t confident that their agency had the tools or resources in place to prevent fraud. Just 22% said they were “very confident.”

The magnitude of the issue—and the criticality of agency missions—means that more can and must be done. Agencies must be given the infrastructure and tools needed to root out and eradicate FWA at scale, leveraging automation and advanced data analysis to do so—all while staying within budget and focused on their greater missions.

There’s reason for optimism in the fight against FWA: a robust data platform for collecting, analyzing, and visualizing data—and delivering the kinds of historical and predictive insights that lead to tangible results.

These platforms become even more powerful when integrated with AI and machine learning, as well as other forms of automation. AI, machine learning, and automation reduce the operational overhead required to manage modern infrastructure and tooling, giving resource-constrained agencies a powerful new lever to root out FWA without having to add significant new head count.

FWA is as much a data problem as it is a financial one. Modern data analytics effectively help government IT leaders and staff turn their biggest challenge—massive, growing amounts of data flowing through their agencies—into their most powerful weapon in the fight against FWA.

These next-gen data tools already exist and are ready to deploy quickly, except for a major missing piece: infrastructure.

Many government agencies are still stuck running legacy servers and other infrastructure that, while they may have fulfilled their past purposes, cannot keep pace with modern data requirements and strategies. Legacy servers don’t have the raw firepower needed to handle modern data workloads. That means that agency staff often don’t have the data tools needed to collect, analyze, and act.

The ability to turn data from a challenge into a solution depends on a modern data platform with advanced analytics capabilities and the underlying infrastructure that enables agency teams to take advantage of newer, more powerful tools such as data visualization and machine learning. 

In particular, agencies need to add specialized hardware such as GPUs, that deliver the compute and processing power needed to enable investigators and auditors to identify and act on patterns in the data available to them. This leaves an open question, however: How best to get there? 

Cloudera is teaming up with Dell, GAI, and NVIDIA to address the problem with an integrated, ready-to-implement infrastructure and advanced analytics solution designed specifically for the public sector.

This is a prime opportunity for public sector agencies that are constantly tasked with doing more with less. A challenge that can make infrastructure modernization seem tougher than it should be—if the bridge is too expensive or will take too long to complete, the project may never get started.

But modernizing your data infrastructure for advanced analytics is akin to building a bridge between the FWA problem and its solution. With the right infrastructure in place, CIOs and their teams can rapidly scale their data analytics initiatives and tackle the FWA problem.

To succeed, agencies must be able to modernize quickly and cost effectively, without months or years of setup and customization. The FWA challenge—and countless other data opportunities for the public sector—is far too important.

Read our ebook: How Agencies Can Combat Fraud, Waste and Abuse by Leveraging an Infrastructure Approach

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