Business intelligence, or BI, is often talked about with a private sector focus, but it has ever-increasing applicability in the public sector as well. Business insights the public sector collects can be analysed to monitor programs and plan long-term strategy around services, with an aim toward improving the citizen experience and boosting program outcomes. Yet government agencies often struggle with culling and making sense out of this meaningful data or business insights for a variety of reasons: issues with integrating into back-end systems; poor data search results; and a lack of self-service capability that allows agency employees to create new searches and reports without going to the IT department for approval.
These are stop-gates that put a slog in a process —mining and transforming data into key government insights that boost program outcomes — that needs to be rapid and agile to be most effective. Looking for business insights solutions that include the following features can help government improve its BI efforts to inform better, quicker decisions about its citizen services and programs.
1. Integration and interoperability: With the often disparate technology systems and databases present in government, capturing meaningful business insights across agencies become a major challenge. This setup leads to a disconnected business insights process and poor information-sharing, keeping data in departmental silos. BI solutions that provide an easily integrated, automated approach to both ingesting and pulling data from many different sources across departments provide the type of business insights that can effect inter-agency business transformation. This interoperability allows information to be inputted, through spreadsheets, databases and other formats, shared and merged across agencies and programs.
2. A searchable BI dashboard: One of the historic problems with many BI solutions is that they often provide pre-computed answers to search queries due to the way these systems were created, during a time when compute resources weren’t as easy and inexpensive to come by. The result is that users don’t get results they need and instead get information based on predetermined factors, preventing the ability to harness true business insights. Government BI dashboards that effectively allow users to navigate a dynamic search engine enable more accurate, meaningful results. This approach allows users to pull the information from the data rather than have answers pushed to them by predetermined and hardcoded factors. Users can then find associated data from a wide range of sources, scrutinise results and refine questions quickly for better business insights.
3. Self-service BI: As in the private sector, raw data is still crucial to government for use in actionable business insights that can improve services to citizens, whether they are minor tweaks mid-campaign or in-depth shifts that might change the program long-term. The individuals leading government programs know best what’s working and not working in these services and having access to business intelligence when they need it can help them make better, fact-based decisions on how to transform interactions with and services to citizens. Self-service BI enables end users to make their own queries and access reports without having to go to IT for approval. Without the usual BI red tape, government employees are able to instantly capture business insights, speeding up their decision-making ability.
Datacom is a partner in the Technology in Government Summit 2013 taking place in Canberra on July 24 and 25. You can get 10 per cent off full-priced registration to this event by registering here. To learn more about how Datacom can help your government agency take advantage of meaningful business insights, stop by our stand with BI partner QlikView and enter for a chance to win our “Seeing is Believing” demonstration.