The Query: Insights on Breakthrough Government Performance

Federal Agencies Challenged to Use Data in Meaningful Ways

Our experience has shown that too many business intelligence initiatives become disconnected from the business challenges or missions they are meant to address and they often become ineffective in helping organizations use the data to fulfill their missions. It’s crucial to objectively define and understand the business problem at the outset of the project. It is equally important to maintain an acute business focus during, and even after the BI implementation in order to realize the full potential of business intelligence.

A recent study by the Government Business Council and Deloitte Consulting demonstrates this necessity by highlighting a challenge that a majority of federal agency managers deal with — the ability to use their organization’s data in a “meaningful” way.  In fact, 58% of respondents say this is a challenge. 

The report shows that many managers are unlikely to use data to determine cost-savings or take a closer look at their programs or functions. Only 23% of respondents will analyze data to review program outcomes, reduce improper payments or acheive cost savings. Rather, at least half say they would consider downsizing to acheive that cost savings.

While these managers know that data analytics is crucial and have not eliminated it amid budget constraints, they are not utilizing it for more strategic purposes, such as waste reduction and cost savings. With the right process and expertise before and after the BI implementation, agencies can rely on analytics to extract real value out of their existing data. This includes making decisions that will truly benefit their organizations – not just ones that bring immediate “relief” to the bottom line – such as staff reduction, but end up costing them more in the future.

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