Technology is playing an evolving role in protecting communities around the globe from damage to the environment and public health threats. With the rise of Big Data analysis, these solutions have their own part to play in protecting society.

An article on highlights how Dutch water experts are working with IBM on a new initiative that looks to Intelligent Operations and Big Data to alleviate flooding in the very flat country, where about 25 percent of the land is at or below sea level.

IBM’s Intelligent Operations for Water software solution provides a holistic view of multiple datasets, such as rain and weather data, information from sensors and other systems, to increase organizational efficiency and improve public safety. The article highlights three benefits of an integrated system:

  1. Integrated data from multiple disparate systems. This is vital because many municipal systems can be siloed, and trying to share data between them can be very difficult. By normalizing the data from these systems, users are able to quickly identify patterns across data sets and use that information to make better decisions.
  2. Ability to organize and access data. Increased access to data allows organizations to perform advanced analytics and visualization. For example, with real time sensor input you can identify key issues, such as the fact that when it’s raining you can turn off your irrigation systems. A simple example, but something that most people and organizations don’t do.A glitch in the Dutch flood-control water-management system could result in flooded cities and agricultural lands, as well as major losses in revenue on multiple levels.
  3. Improved efficiency from shared information. Each agency has its own goals and agenda, and by providing more transparency across the wide span of data from their systems, the organization as a whole becomes more efficient. Increased coordination is also enhanced when different departments can access the integrated solution and leverage data from other departments and areas to better structure and adapt to their own needs.

Overall, this article highlights a great example of taking all the data that already exists in an organization and making it even better by merging it with other data, using advanced analytics to transform it into actionable information and then sharing the resulting information with people that normally wouldn’t have access to it. An example of the data problem that plagues all organizations.  IBM’s Intelligent Operations for Water is not designed to replace core water management systems; its function is to help users get greater visibility into and insight from their existing systems and data so they can make better, faster decisions across their organization.