Why we need data hubs (Daily Monitor (Uganda))


If you are interested in doing research for any topic, data hubs are the way to go. Data hubs have large amounts of data and information that is useful in several areas of analysis which saves time and costs on the otherwise hectic research one has to deal with.
A data hub can be described as a collection of data from multiple sources organised for distribution and sharing.

Importance of data hubs

Simon Kaheru, a media analyst, says data hubs can only be useful if they are put into use properly.

“In health, for instance, a data hub that combines all the findings of medical professionals countrywide could go a long way in research and diagnosis in education, data hubs providing information with trends in education and using student information could help change policy and drive investment in education or even development of curriculum focus,” he points out.

He adds that the general idea of a successful or useful data hub is that you can move faster if you can see farther – and that means the more information you have available to you, the more you should be able to do.

Charles Lwanga Ntale, the regional manager Development Initiatives, who have created the development data hub that gives data on regional, national and global levels of development, says one of the advantages of using data hubs is that they can facilitate interaction between key players in the sector.

Kaheru adds that ideally, data hubs should be usable by anybody seeking data and adds that in Uganda, “We have the additional opportunity if businesses figure out a way of making this data functional for ordinary day-to-day purposes, which will ease or improve business functions.”

For the government, a data hub could enable different departments to map and use this data optimally for service provision – the mobile phone database could have been used to reach out to voter ID card applicants, for instance, and make that process faster. “The possibilities and uses are myriad,” Kaheru points out.

Considerations

Simon Kaheru, a media analyst, advises that when starting a data hub, some of the considerations one has to keep in mind is the availability of centralisation facilities. This includes servers that are impenetrable and where data can be securely stored, as well as bandwidth to enable secure and fast transmission and retrieval of data. One should also provide for highly professional personnel to manage the data, as integrity is the most important factor in providing data. These are some of the issues some technology entities like Huawei seek to solve.

With new technologies such as FusionCube, which converges computing networking and storage into one platform, it is possible to put all the information on a cloud service making data easy to share and retrieve. Stanley Chyn , managing director, Huawei Uganda, says this kind of technology will make businesses in the country more agile.

Thomas Rutaro, director of data analysis at Uganda Bureau of Statistics, says as statistical data providers, they undertake quality assessment, provide agencies with technical support in terms of data analysis and have compilation of quality information. Data is important in terms of technology, because we need to know who we are planning for in terms of gender, age calls, people with disabilities and those living below the poverty lines and each category has unique characteristics and trends.

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