Governments Embracing Data Analytics Improve Operational Efficiency

Government agencies are continually asked to do more with less, and data analytics is sometimes viewed as crucial to their success. Data analytics can be used to improve efficiency, inform spending decisions, explain current trends, and predict future incidents.

Agencies that have embraced a data-driven culture have reaped the rewards and set themselves apart as efficient, analytically competent organizations. 

The use of data analytics in government is not a new concept, yet how we use that data has changed dramatically. 

Previously, data analysts worked behind the scenes. Analysts, sprinkled across departments, were kept away from key decision-makers. Those running predictive models were not part of the bigger discussions, so the information they gathered wasn’t utilized. 

In recent years, there has been a shift and analysts are becoming an integral part of the team with a seat at the table. Departments now hire data experts who have the experience and know-how to make sense of the collective data. 

When properly sorted, analyzed, and shared with the right people, this data helps the department make big decisions with positive effects on officers, departments, and the entire organization. 

Data analytics is the future of all successful government agencies. 

The Role of Analytics in Government 

When information is easily accessible, the results are a more efficient organization and a transparent government. The collected data helps higher ups make informed decisions that determine the organization’s success. Quite simply, it informs what direction to take. 

Governments rely on many types of data analytics to collect information. Each type offers different insights to maximize outcomes. Here is an overview.

What are the 5 types of data analytics? 

Descriptive Analytics

Descriptive analytics works to understand “what” exactly happened. This data collection method digs deeper into incidents and seeks out details contributing to a situation. Clustering, summary statistics, and segmentation are tools used to capture this data. 

For example, monitoring the location based attributes of criminal activities to identify hotspots.

Diagnostic Analytics

Understanding past events is the goal of diagnostic analytics. We look to this tool to help us understand the “why” something happened and identify trends. Tools used to obtain this information include data mining and drilling down. 

As an example, looking at the demographics of an area to look for trends (increases in rentals vs. home ownership, mean income data, or unemployment rates and how this data relates to crime in the area.

Prescriptive Analytics

Prescriptive analytics works in the present. Using available data, this tool offers the best recommendations at any given time and situation. Prescriptive analytics happens as the event occurs.

Predictive Analytics

Much like it sounds, the goal of predictive analytics is to forecast the future. This tool primarily relies on statistics, modeling, and machine learning. Predictive analytics looks for patterns and predicts the outcome of particular incidents. Most use a scoring system to forecast an event’s likelihood. 

An example of a real world application is when police departments use past and present crime data to decide where to deploy police.

Cognitive Analytics 

This sophisticated type of analytic relies on many intelligent technologies to form conclusions. Artificial intelligence and machine learning algorithms process information and derive conclusions from the data. This method also works to make cognitive applications smarter by mirroring human thinking. 

As an example, in the case of human trafficking – taking information from social media, citizens reports, highway surveillance systems, local/national/international law enforcement records to capture information on individuals or a group.

The Benefits of Using Analytics in Government 

There are very few decisions made today that aren’t based on a collection of data. When government agencies embrace data analytics as a critical component of their programs, they can accomplish their goals and missions more quickly. 

Agencies empowered to make better informed decisions have the data to back up their thinking. 

We live in a data-driven culture. To keep up with current demands, agencies must adopt a focused approach to data analytics. 

Improve Internal Operations and Efficiency with Data

When data is too complicated to access, it simply won’t be used. On the contrary, when systems are user friendly and intuitive employees are more likely to benefit from more comprehensive data gathering.

When the tools work, users are eager to input information which improves outcomes. These tools make their jobs easier, less complex, and allow them to work more efficiently. 

Data provides a clearer view of what is and isn’t going well. Once identified, data analysts can help tackle each problem one by one using data to improve any process. The benefits of data analytics are limitless. 

Gathering data and analyzing it can bring some amazing insights. Using these insights can help departments improve organizational outcomes, driving process improvements, helping organizations meet their goals, and enhancing efficiency. 

Read how IDEA Analytics used cutting-edge data analytics to improve department efficiency. 

8 Challenges of Using Analytics in Government

When adopting a data analytics program, one can expect challenges. Even the most robust, analytically competent organizations need to start by addressing barriers to their success. Here are just some of the challenges that may arise.

  1. Balancing between the need for data protection and data use. 
  2. Finding skilled analytical talent can be difficult. 
  3. Analytics hasn’t been integrated into decision-making processes and is therefore underutilized. 
  4. Establishing a data culture takes time and commitment from the top-down. 
  5. Data collected from multiple sources and departments offer many opportunities for communication breakdown and human error.
  6. Knowing what to analyze, how to do it, and which tool to use requires extensive training.
  7. Budgets are tight, and quality data programs can be costly.
  8. Employees may be resistant to new methods and systems. 

By tackling these minor roadblocks one by one you will be well on your way to a data-driven future.

A Few Emerging Analytical Trends

Data analytics is moving  to the forefront of all government organizations. With this movement, we see the emergence of several trends making  data more accessible to all users. 

  • Data Democratization – serving to make analyzing information more accessible for everyone. It will be easier for employees to analyze data on their own in the future. Eventually, users will simply drag and drop automation blocks into an interface and gain insights instantly. This will save time and free up data analysts to work on high-value projects. 
  • Data Integration – improvements in data integration are moving quickly. In the past, data lived inside analytical software and only analysts could access the information. Data will become more accessible in programs that organizations already use. There will be faster access to information without switching between programs and interfaces. Data attainment will continue to grow. 
  • User-Friendly Applications – the introduction of easy-to-use platforms will increase ease of use. A single click will allow users to navigate from screen to screen and move quickly from data to insights with little effort. 

The Future is Data Analytics 

Every day, government agencies are producing copious amounts of data. When data experts are involved as valued members of the team, they are empowered to take that data and make sense of it. Once synthesized, the information is put directly into the hands of the decision-makers helping to inform organizational growth and innovation. The use of data analytics increases organizational performance and productivity.

There’s no getting around the fact that data is playing a bigger role in all government organizations. The benefits of data analytics cannot be ignored. 
Data analysis has the potential to transform your organization. Don’t get left behind. Partner with IDEA today.