In an environment where agencies are looking to streamline activities, maximize efficiency and significantly decrease waste, fraud and abuse, a comprehensive analytics solution should be considered by government agencies. To get an inside opinion on the benefits of analytics, GovLoop interviewed Adobe’s John Landwehr, Vice President of Digital Government Solutions and Nils Engel, Solutions Engineer.
With the volume, variety, and velocity in which data is collected by government agencies, analytics software helps “organizations better manage their systems by measuring the efficiency, usage, trends, interactions, and the correlations of people, places, and things within their organization,” states Nils Engel, Solutions Engineer at Adobe in a recent interview with GovLoop.
In the interview, Landwehr described a few of the activities Adobe’s software completes for its clients:
“Adobe provides solutions that are both cloud-based as well as behind your firewall. So we can provide anything from standard web reporting, what people are doing on your website, how they get there, are they able to get to the end goal of the website, and all the way to very advanced analytics on the web data; are people trying to hack into your website, doing things that they shouldn’t be on your website, and being able to understand specifically where those attacks are coming from.”
To serve agencies with both low and high security requirements, Adobe has created differing programs to provide varying levels of services to a myriad of clients. These programs can exist on the cloud or behind a firewall. Such software can serve both small companies that are curious about the success of an application, or agencies in the intelligence community that desire to use complicated analytics but need tighter security.
The variety of activities that analytics software can complete ranges from complicated security analysis to simple data interpretation. Through analytics, programs can measure the potential lifespan of product popularity or the actual lifespan of a piece of high tech machinery. In today’s dreary fiscal climate, data analysis is used to justify funding, to “provide proof of value,” says Engel. Types of data that can be collected includes:
1. How often a document/application is reviewed or used
2. If content by specific creators more used more than others
3. Who has access to what document/application at what time
Instead of basing decisions and conversations on emotional or anecdotal evidence, agencies can use the data collected to provide concrete proof of whether applications/programs should be continued or eliminated. Processes such as these minimize waste and streamline budgeting debates.
According to Engel, one of the major benefits of increasing analytics in government is being able to “understand the impact and effectiveness of websites and mobile applications.” Agencies do not want to be left behind in the digital era, and by creating workable and usable online sources, they can better serve the public. However, the issue is not convincing agencies of the why they should create an analytics program, but how. The challenge is informing agencies on the best practices and strategies to implement one. Adobe provided some insights on how an agency of any size and budget could begin to create an analytics program:
How to Implement an Analytics Program
1. Identify and Collect Data
Engel states, “It’s all about data, so you need to have access to data in order to do the analysis.” To start an analytics program, an agency must, of course, have data. The first step is to identify a data need and then to collect the data to support agency needs.
2. Create a plan
When starting an analytics program it is important to create a strategy. “Putting together a methodology that will collect the appropriate data about the events that are occurring so the analysis can be done” will ensure that the program will continue instead of hitting a wall soon after implementation.
3. Get Managers on board
Analytics needs to be implemented from a “top-down approach.” Managers need to be leaders in not only starting, but also continuing to support the program. With proper leadership, agencies can understand the goal of an analytics program and can ensure that employee’s responsibilities work towards analytics goals.
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