Azure Government Hero Microsoft

The government in New South Wales (NSW) confirmed it has tapped Microsoft’s Azure cloud expertise to help commercialise its data science. The initial point of the collaboration will to help the Australian region with its AU$30 billion procurement spend.

Microsoft’s local Australian division will work directly with the NSW Data Analytics Centre (DAC) to provide data solutions within and outside the government. DAC was created in 2015 and will now leverage Microsoft’s Azure to create machine learning. Specifically, it will use the neural network to allocate the AU$30 billion procurement budget that is given to NSW each year.

“The NSW Data Analytics Centre is an employer of some of the best data scientists who are spearheading data analytics inside of government,” NSW Minister of Finance, Services and Property Victor Dominello said.

“Our partnership with Microsoft will allow the NSW DAC to go a step further, servicing not just NSW government agencies, but governments and corporates around the world. The DAC will leverage Microsoft’s deep engineering expertise with the goal of commercialising within a year.”

Dominello emphasized the importance of data, describing it as one of the government’s most important assets. Microsoft is working with DAC on a proof of concept targeted to eight million transactions that are undertaken through each procurement budget.

Sorting the Money

Dr Ian Oppermann, chief data scientist for the state and the CEO of DAC, says data inisghts can help the government see exactly where its money is going and how it’s being used.

“In the case of this particular project what we’re looking at is using some very sophisticated artificial intelligence techniques to analyse and categorise New South Wales’ procurement spend with the big picture goal of helping the people who are working to reform procurement.”

“The learning capacity of the system is impressive,” Oppermann added. “It’s been training itself over the last weeks and we have already seen improvements in its accuracy.”