Why You Need Operational Intelligence at Your Agency

Oftentimes we can get so distracted by the details of a situation it is difficult to see the bigger picture. Government agencies going through digital modernization processes often get caught up in this cycle. They know cybersecurity, citizen engagement and efficient infrastructure all matter. But they don’t know have a holistic view of how all of these elements work together. Operational Intelligence offers a comprehensive visibility solution to this problem.

In order to better understand how to gain more visibility, Mike Wons, CTO of the State of Illinois; Tracy Doaks, Chief Deputy CIO and Chief Services Officer for North Carolina’s Department of Information Technology; and Ashok Sankar, Director of Solutions Strategy at Splunk sat down with GovLoop at a recent online training, “Good to Great: How Operational Intelligence Can Drive Mission Success.”

Many agencies are embarking on or continuing digital transformation journeys. Recently, Splunk commissioned a survey to better understand where agencies are in their journeys and what innovations they need more information on. “From the survey we learned that insights gained from IT operations data are critical to organizations’ overall mission but there were many changes occurring that people feel like they don’t have a good grasp on,” Sankar explained.

One of these changes is shifting towards end-to-end visibility across the enterprise. Many agencies have taken the first step to achieving end-to-end visibility by spearheading consolidation efforts. Putting all of the agencies information in one place instead of having it spread out across multiple data centers makes it easier to access and glean insights from the data. In North Carolina, Doaks explained, “our consolidation efforts focus on data in our new operations model.” Once silos are broken down, machine data can collect, correlate, and analyze data from across the enterprise in one place.

Operational intelligence takes the aforementioned data and gives agencies an opportunity to see what is going on across their enterprise on a single dashboard. Sankar explained, “it gives you a real-time understanding of what is going on in your applications, systems, and networks and allows you to see the data in one place.” Seeing data in one place provides solutions for critical challenges that may not have been apparent before.

Illinois is working on accelerating their modernization processes through consolidation and employing operational intelligence. Wons emphasized, “when we first started our modernization process everything was siloed and every agency invested in their own IT infrastructure, today we’ve developed a strategic plan to achieve modernization.”

The transformation process in Illinois focuses on four key transformation initiatives:

  1. Enterprise Resource Planning: moved from over 420 integrated platforms across finance, procurement, grants management and decision support down to one platform.
  2. IT Transformation: consolidated more than thirty organizations into one unified, high value, customer-centric innovation and technology organization.
  3. Data Analytics: created a holistic, 360-degree view of enterprise data that integrated siloed data from disparate systems to a comprehensive dashboard that promotes early intervention and reduces waste, fraud and abuse.
  4. Going Mobile: increase the percent of mobile citizen interactions by providing mobile enabled tools to employees in the field that allow them to interact with their government when they need to.

Looking forward, Wons emphasized that agencies wanting to modernize and leverage operational intelligence have to get in the right mindset to do so. “In Illinois we refer to consolidation efforts as transformation efforts because it promotes a more positive outlook on the change,” he explained. Promoting wholesale transformation allows agencies to drive efficiency, gain a holistic enterprise view, and problem solve more effectively.

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