November 11, 2019

Using Federal Data: From Initiative to Action to Results

The IBI Team

Topic:   Industry Focus

Every day in the federal space, I see strategies, goals, and objectives published by and for federal agencies to improve processes, be more efficient, reduce cost, and improve services. When done with a purpose, these approaches use tax dollars efficiently and effectively.

Some of these strategies are excellent and provide agencies with direction in their efforts to be stewards of taxpayer money. However, they first need to develop initiatives – projects and programs that will put these strategies into action. Secondly, they will have to prevail upon those initiatives to create successful results.

One of the biggest assets that you have at your disposal is data – within and outside of your organization. Tapping into the intelligence of that data is key to proactively moving your initiatives forward. With a data management and analytics platform, you could take advantage of three proven enablers:

  1. Data visualization and analysis
  2. Prediction and prescription
  3. Performance monitoring

Visualizing and Analyzing Data

The most actionable analytics are the most personalized to the decision-maker’s needs.

Data analysis is a process of inspecting, cleansing, transforming, and modeling data with the goal of discovering useful information, informing conclusions, and supporting decision-making. Better data changes the culture of an organization by holding everyone accountable for making the kind of decisions that move the organization forward.

What makes analytics actionable? It’s not enough to generate reports, charts, spreadsheets, graphs, and data visualizations. The information must be immediately comprehensible and the insight derived should make it clear if your organization needs to take action. Actionable analytics also vary by each individual and his or her abilities – trained data scientists and analysts explore and discover trends and insights from large data sets and make recommendations based on their observations.

But not every decision-maker is data savvy. How do you empower non-technical folks to make more informed decisions? You provide only the data that is relevant to them, and allow them to analyze and understand it easily. There are a variety of creative ways to do this, such as by embedding analytics in existing applications, creating simple interactive apps, sending alerts, or building personalized infographics. The most actionable analytics are the most personalized to the decision-maker’s needs. They can engage in observations, get insights, and take action with confidence and ease.

Predicting and Prescribing

Organizations can no longer wait to make critical decisions once opportunities arise or problems are uncovered. A proactive approach anticipates important changes, events, and trends, and acts before they occur. That’s where predictive analytics comes in.

Unlike traditional reporting and analysis techniques, which provide a “rear-view” perspective of what happened in the past, predictive analytics enables the discovery of patterns and trends in historical data to determine what will likely occur in the future. This eliminates the need for decision-makers to rely solely on intuition, giving them valuable, forward-looking insight that improves the effectiveness of plans, strategies, and decisions.

Monitoring Performance and Success

To maximize performance management effectiveness, accurate metrics must be established, aligned with organizational goals, and communicated to stakeholders across and beyond the agency so they understand their roles and expected contributions. Most importantly, the tracking and monitoring of progress towards the goals most pertinent to agency strategy must span the entire operation. By collecting and analyzing information from all back-end systems, then delivering them via dashboards, you provide an accurate and holistic, yet balanced view of performance.

A performance management solution should operate independent of any underlying system so it can collect, aggregate, and analyze performance-related information from any source, in the most unbiased and balanced way possible. Most importantly, it can deliver performance from both financial and operational perspectives, to address the needs of all users and facilitate true, enterprise-wide performance optimization.

Data analysis, prediction, and performance monitoring are three key components to help you achieve the results from your initiatives that you desire. There are many tools out there that do this, but wouldn’t it be better to have it all in one package? You can. It’s out there and Information Builders would love to show it to you. Better yet, we would love to help you make your initiatives actionable and show how to get the results that you need.