IBM recently released a great report, The Foundations of Efficiency; learning to do more with less is the new normal for government (Download Here). The opening of the report gives a quick synopsis of the dire financial situation facing governments. IBM observes:
“Our current economic contraction is different from previous downturns. It is global. It is systemic. And, we believe that it is not temporary. In fact, a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) states that short-term revenue or stimulus strategies will only serve to deepen and lengthen this crisis because these measures do not address the structural and policy changes needed to correct core imbalances between revenues and spending.”
The report provides concise review of a report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), which identifies that MOST OECD member countries have witnessed fiscal deficits soar to due stimulus measures and reduced revenues. The OECD report identifies, “The report states, “deficits of this magnitude are clearly unsustainable, especially when future increases in public costs related to aging populations in many countries are taken into consideration.”
Now that you are currently worried about the prospects of our economic future, there is some good news. There is room for growth and innovation in the public sector – partly borne out of necessity. With mounting complexity facing government entities, the challenge is how agency leaders can cross across agencies to work collaboratively to solve complex problems. To work towards solutions, IBM recommends using analytics:
“To restore fiscal credibility and improve services to their constituents, many governments have chosen to take transformational approaches, such as using advanced analytics, adopting shared services or moving to self-service models to address specific pain points within their districts. Analytics can make data consumable, insightful and predictive.”
Analytics is still in its nascent stage for government – but by using data to help drive decisions and efficiencies can transform the life, quality and services provided to citizens. The report ends by offering seven opportunities government can explore to investigate cost efficiencies. I’ve listed them below and encourage you to view the report, in which IBM does a great job explaining all seven opportunities listed:
- Consolidate IT Infrastructure
- Streamline Supply Chains
- Reduce Energy Use
- Move to Shared Services
- Use Advanced Analytics to Maximize Utilization
- Optimize Revenue
- Move to Electronic and Self-Service and Improve Business Processes
This was an interesting report to read, and hope you will take a look at the report.
Anything we can add to the list? What help can government do to drive efficiencies? What have you done?
The IBM Analytics Solution Center (ASC) is part of a network of global analytics centers that provides clients with the analytics expertise to help them solve their toughest business problems. Check out their Analytics to Outcomes group on GovLoop.
I recently put together two presentations that have been very well received by public sector clients.
First is on the role of analytics in Smarter Government at all levels. Second is one entitled “Smarter Local Government: An Architectural Perspective” which discuss how we need to change the structure of local government in America.
I plan on producing generic versions of both for public consumption via Slideshare. If you’re interested in either, please let me know at [email protected] and I will let you know when posted.
Note it may be a few weeks, given my day job…=8-)
Thanks dampening my hopes for the future. I’m glad IBM is here to help us get through it. I absolutely agree that if the government embraces the economic constraints to drive innovation, we could be better off in the end (at least in terms of public sector services). I think government can learn a lot from companies like IBM — they’ve achieved these type of efficiencies internally and for several clients.
Thanks for the comments! Mark – I’d love to see the slides and information you presented. I’ll shoot you an email to follow up, sounds like a really interesting presentation.
Chris – The first few pages of the report were bleak, but there is hope! I think you’re spot on – IBM has done some really interesting work driving efficiencies. They have a bunch of great case studies, all really interesting on how they are using data/analytics.