3 Ways to Build Capacity for Decision-Making

Agencies increasingly are tapping into the power of data and analytics to support better citizen service, leveraging data to drive both long-term planning and strategic initiatives.

“With each additional byte of data created, there is more opportunity to use it to learn, predict, gain insight and make data-driven decisions,” said Ben Coit, Managing Director of Public Sector at Phase2, a digital experience company and a partner of Acquia, which provides digital experience platforms.

How best to seize the moment? Across governments, IT leaders and other key stakeholders should look to break down data silos, tie data to specific actions and build an agencywide data strategy in support of mission outcomes.

Breaking down silos

According to Forbes, 2.5 quintillion bytes of data were created each day in 2018 and that number continues to grow. In government, much of this data lives in mission- or task-specific silos, making it hard to operationalize the data for maximum value.

“Data-driven leaders face an obstacle when it comes to combining data from disparate sources as they strive to create a single, unified view of their data,” Coit said.

As a first step toward overcoming this problem, agencies can implement an up-to-date inventory of all data sources, with an eye toward greater collaboration.

Making it actionable

Data without action is merely information. Agencies should put data into play by connecting it to specific and well-defined mission outcomes.

“Using data to improve the digital customer experience, or improving decision-making accuracy, should be an iterative process encompassing the entire digital ecosystem,” Coit said.

Rather than using data to respond to individual mandates, agencies should constantly look for opportunities to put data to work in support of improved customer experiences and enhanced service delivery.

Building a data strategy

To get to those specific actions, agencies need to construct an overall data strategy, a guiding set of principles that elevates data within the organization and sets the criteria for success.

First, they must develop clear organizational goals that are documented and shared throughout the agency.

From there, they need to define the key performance indicators (KPIs) — the measures of success. “Every KPI and metric that is tracked must tie back to an organizational goal,” Coit said.

By doing this, your organization can tie data, the decisions made with the data and the impact of the data to the overall agency mission. Phase2 offers a data strategy framework that can help organizations draw direct connections between the data they collect and their service mission.

At the same time, organizations should not rely solely on partners to execute their data operations forever.

“Our approach to partnership is grounded in capacity-building,” Coit said. “We walk side by side with our agency partners, so that over the long term, they are able to maintain the strategies and technical systems we co-create.”

This article is an excerpt from GovLoop’s guide “Your Field Notes for Data-Driven Decision-Making in Government: Case Studies on Work Culture, Equity and More.”

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