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How states can get the most from data analytics

As data management and analytics become increasingly important to efficient and transparent government operations, the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) has released a new report discussing how states can create a data analytics ecosystem.

In the light of the pandemic, data analytics will be crucial for delivering the necessary insights states need to develop their mitigation strategies and federal grant investment decisions, according to the Sept. 8 report, “Making the Case for Insight Enabling Analytics.”

Insight-enabling analytics will allow state government to mitigate fraud, make budget cuts and investment decisions, understand how to manage investments in IT and people and “evaluate how to develop and continually attenuate a government capability in economic resiliency,” the report said.

To derive actionable insights from the vast trove of data available, states must build an analytics ecosystem with timely, reliable and high-quality data that it is both protected and available to citizens.

This ecosystem requires strong data governance, enterprise-level strategic investment and embedding analytics into all business processes and employee workflows. With data in hand, states can move from static reports to forecasting, optimizing and predicting and demonstrate better outcomes for residents and the overall government enterprise.

To get the most from data management and analytics, the report urged states to:

  • Determine whether their approach to analytics will be a centralized, enterprisewide function or federated across departments.
  • Initially target quick wins that demonstrate the effectiveness and importance of analytics.
  • Partner with the state chief data officers to establish appropriate analytics governance, operating discipline and training.
  • Emulate best analytics practices from industry, consider establishing a center of excellence for promoting analytics and provide learning, consulting and technology transfer services.
  • Review analytics with meaningful metrics to evaluate the effectiveness of capabilities.

Once states have some analytics maturity, they can apply their tools to IT investments to help determine where to invest and to funding decisions under the American Rescue Plan Act of 2021.

“The question is … how to change the status quo of today’s operational, management and policy decisions to a data-driven environment that enables unprecedented outcomes for delivering effective government services,” the report stated. “The real goal is positive outcomes for our citizens, residents and businesses, in our states and territories.”

“Going forward with increasingly broad types of data, including big data, unstructured data, streaming data and new analytic capabilities that employ artificial intelligence, machine learning and deep learning, government is primed for even greater capabilities of analysis, greater insights into business decisions and increased optimization to reach desired outcomes.”

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