As we saw in previous blogs of this series, Government agencies are leveraging Hybrid Data Analytics to evolve from their traditional process-driven approach to a new outcome-driven mindset. Having already reviewed this transformation from the Finance and Human Resources perspectives (CFO and CHRO), for the final blog of this series we will focus on the Operations offices of State and Local agencies.
The Outcome-Driven Transformation
Let’s start by defining what becoming “outcome-driven” means for these State and Local offices. As discussed in a previous entry, transitioning from a process-driven to an outcome-driven approach requires a change in business priorities. The table below illustrates such change for the Operations Offices that constitute the bulk of the State and Local budget.
Process-Driven approach focuses on
Outcome-Driven approach focuses on
Tax & Revenue
Processing tax returns
Enabling citizens to properly pay their taxes
Improving the education system (schools, teachers, programs, etc.)
Ensuring safe and easy movement of people and goods to enhance the economy and improve quality of life
Providing regulatory and law enforcement services
Reducing crimes and increase safety
As we can see, agencies will need to make a substantial change in the way they operate to achieve this transformation. But how can agency leaders make it happen? And where should they start? The answer is… in the data! In order to make the right fact-based decisions, COOs and head of departments must reimagine the way they analyze their data. And that means using forward looking tools like the Gartner Analytics Framework to be able to ask the right questions.
Identifying the right questions
What questions should COOs be asking? Let’s take the example of the Tax & Revenue agency that wants to ensure citizens pay their taxes. We can ask different groups of questions based on the four analytical categories of Gartner’s Framework:
Descriptive: Asking questions such as “What was the default rate in the previous tax seasons? “or “Do I have enough personnel to manage the tax returns?” is critical to understand potential issues but it only allows to persist on our process-driven approach without achieving the ultimate outcome.
Diagnostic: The first step to focus on the outcome (enabling citizens to properly pay their taxes) is to understand the reasons behind the problem: “Why are certain people not paying taxes?”, “Am I providing the right resources for them to do so?”, “Is my website user-friendly enough?”, etc.
Predictive: Once we identify the causes, look towards the future: “What group of taxpayers will more likely commit default?”
Prescriptive: Finally, determine the best way to handle it: “What measures can I take beforehand to prevent such default?”, “Which ones will be more effective?”
A similar process can be applied to the other agencies to determine the most relevant questions. In addition to this, COOs want to implement shared services across areas to create consistency and to optimize the available resources. With a common framework for call center, case management, citizen self-service or citizen experience, COOs can get consistent metrics across the board. This will lead to additional questions that would need to be factored in (“What is the customer satisfaction score in my call centers?”, “Are people getting the answers they need?”, “How can I improve the quality of service?”, etc.).
Once we know what questions to ask, we can now place them in the COO Office diagram below to identify the relevant data sources in order to get the right answers. Now, what is the best approach to make sense of all this data?
Covering such a wide variety of agencies, it is extremely important to look at data in a holistic way. However, agencies typically run their own legacy on-premise analytical tools and data management solutions, independent from each other. This creates a complex and siloed IT landscape that prevents COOs from getting a complete picture of the situation. In these cases, hybrid analytics is the right approach to overcome these challenges for various reasons:
Protecting investment: Government agencies that made large investments in on-premise analytics tools are often reluctant to use Cloud-based solutions. However, these tools lack the capabilities and innovation of the Cloud and are expensive to maintain. A hybrid architecture allows agency officials to start their migration journey to the Cloud while leveraging their original investment.
Breaking silos: As mentioned, agencies have complex and siloed systems that prevent COO’s from exploiting the true potential of their data. With a hybrid approach, agencies can benefit from a powerful Cloud solution that connects to all these data sources to discover hidden correlations, detecting the key drivers behinds the main KPIs and suggesting the best course of action.
Single source of truth: Another challenge when dealing with multiple data sources is data integrity. Data is often extracted and duplicated, leading to data corruption or to multiple versions of the truth. In a hybrid scenario with live data connection, this can be prevented as the Cloud solution connects in real-time to the different on-premise data sources and performs the analytics where data resides. The data stays on-premise unduplicated, unaltered and safe from any unwanted party.
Faster Insight to Value: Another critical aspect to consider when analyzing data from the above-mentioned government agencies is time. Cloud solutions with augmented analytics can create in seconds complex reports that took days or weeks with legacy on-premise tools. COOs can run “what-if” analysis to simulate alternatives and predict with more confidence the outcome of their decisions.
By shifting to an outcome-driven mindset State and Local Operations Offices will be able to provide new and better services for their citizens. That transition will require some effort but asking the right questions and analyzing data with the proper analytical tools will get them there much faster. And they are not alone on this journey. As we have seen in countless examples throughout the current pandemic, making the data available to the citizens will also allow them to become part of the solution and participate in creating better outcomes.