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Embracing Analytics to Build a Smarter Government

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Vice President, Public Sector BAO Market Leader, IBM

Earlier this month, IBM Chairman, President and CEO, Ginni Rometty, spoke to the Council of Foreign Relations (CFR) about creating a Competitive Advantage in the Era of Smart.

According to Ginni, data is the “basis of competition in the ‘smarter’ era.” In the new ‘smarter’ landscape, organizations can use data and analytics to move past the traditional “sense and respond” approach and to start making informed, fact-driven decisions in real-time. To truly embrace the analytics approach, Ginni outlined three principles of change:

  • Make decisions based on predictive analytics and data.
  • Understand the social network not as your new water cooler, but as your new production line.
  • Deliver value not to masses or segments, but to individuals.

In closing her speech, Ginni suggests that culture, not technology, is the biggest obstacle to embracing the analytics approach. The 2010 study Analytics: The New Path to Value, supports this assertion, finding organizational concerns topped the list of barriers to widespread analytics adoption. To overcome these barriers, leaders need to make time to investigate the analytics solutions available, as well as the potential impact on their business. Starting from the top, leaders must adopt a “predict and act” mindset and start making decisions based on real-time data.

Particularly in the business of government, data is the next big natural resource. Public sector organizations are tasked with turning out more results with fewer resources. At federal, state, and local levels, smarter analytics is capable of

We’ve been able to show organizations that they must embrace big data analytics principles to thrive… so why isn’t everyone here yet? Analytics: The New Path to Value explains that a lack of understanding, limited management bandwidth, and missing internal skill sets are the most prominent obstacles facing analytics adoption. Fortunately, these obstacles are being broken down as governments evolve and realize the huge opportunity available by harnessing data they already have. It’s important to understand that these most widely reported obstacles are merely organizational and not dependent on data and budget.

As adoption of big data analytics accelerates through governments, industry and organization leaders are able to define replicable first steps. As with any transformation project, it’s imperative to start with a clear mission and set of business requirements. Once the goals and use cases are defined, a team needs to take inventory of existing data assets, capabilities, and architecture and determine if they can support the organization goals in their as-is state. These activities will guide organizations to the right solution and service investments that will deliver success and value.

According to the Federal Big Data Commission Report Demystifying Big Data, many leaders of organizations (public and private) have already made the investment in analytics and are seeing real results.  An analytics driven government is predictive, adaptable, and smarter government. To truly transform an organization, we need to create a culture that takes action! If we do this… the results will be incredible.