MM in his blog In2Clouds referenced my recent blog on the business benefits and ROI of Text Analytics in the commercial domain, and suggested that it might be useful to be able to use Clarabridge to mash up government information with constituent feedback, suggestions, complaints about programs, producing better transparency and accountability.
I agree - It would be VERY INTERESTING -- and in fact solutions such as MM is envisioning will become reality in 2009, I'm sure.
I see a solution that incorporates:
1) Databases containing funding information ($ granted, per program, over time, over geography) coming from Federal Agencies
2) Databases containing spending information ($ spent, per region/state/jurisdiction, over time) coming from the state agencies
3) Performance Management information (job growth, roads created, educational metrics, energy capacity improvements) coming from a variety of public, private, and watchdog sources.
4) Constituency feedback (anecdotes from citizens on program qualitative benefits, outcomes, problems, observed fraud/waste/abuse) coming from a variety of social media sites on federal, state, local and third party sites)
Put all that information together, and you have truly comprehensive view of the life cycle of the government recovery/stimulus effort, and you have a living, breathing, always on, actionable view of the stimulus in action (or not, depending).
These kinds of data fusion/mash up solution visions highlight the real potential of integrating unstructured data containing qualitative feedback with structured data containing dollars and cents and performance metrics, to truly track the what, where, and WHY of complex programs and systems, and use the information to track, analyze, and improve programs.
In short - text analytics are not just for business. Government can and should also get into the game.