While data is behind a lot of decision-making within local governments, many are still yet to realise the benefits of their data investments and realise the true potential value. According to research from Qlik conducted in partnership with IDC, just 14 per cent of government organisations globally report that their data investments resulted in an increase in employee productivity; behind the retail (21%) and manufacturing (20%) sectors. Similarly, government organisations report seeing minimal improved c (12%)— less than both the healthcare (19%) and transportation (18%) industries.
From the above, it’s clear to see how much more value government organisations can get from their data management and analytics investments.
Here’s how local governments can drive better outcomes from their data.
Data at the heart of all decisions
As I alluded to earlier, data is driving many decisions made by local governments, but it should be at the heart of all decisions. Much of the data available to local governments remains unused or underutilised. In fact, 100 per cent of government organisations in the Qlik and IDC study find it challenging to identify potentially valuable data sources. With data sources going unidentified, local governments are creating blind spots that hinder their ability to make data-informed decisions.
To improve decision-making, local governments must invest in the whole data pipeline, recognising that its output is the sum of all its parts. It’s not enough to just invest in the analytics component, if the organisation’s data management capabilities are not up to scratch. To achieve greater intelligence and improved outcomes, local governments should consider how data discovery and cataloguing can help them improve the availability and access to more data to inform decision-making.
Use up-to-date and relevant data
Traditional methods of integrating data into analytics platforms often leave local governments working with outdated data. In the past, using months-old data has been useful; today it will put government agencies behind. Take for example the amount of data required throughout the COVID-19 pandemic; it was imperative for decisions around social restrictions to be made using near real-time information. If a decision was made using data that was just a few days old, the repercussions could be hugely damaging to the community. The utilisation of near real-time information is critical.
Local government leaders looking for more timely insights should consider new approaches to data integration, such as Change Data Capture (CDC) or real-time data streaming, which continuously identify changes and stream live data to numerous data stores. By automating tasks like this, local governments can utilise near real-time information, ensuring decisions are based off relevant and accurate insights.
Technology is only as good as the user
Organisations can invest in as much technology as they please, however without data literacy skills, it will be of no value. According to Qlik research, just one-in-five (19%) public sector employees feel fully prepared to use data in their current role. This can lead to confusion and missed opportunities when working with data.
On the other hand, the results speak for itself when an organisation is data literate and using data at every level.
The results of a revolutionary trial with The Institute for Musculoskeletal Health, Sydney Local Health District (SLHD) and University of Sydney were recently released, saw clinicians prescribe opioids to patients with back pain, up to 24 per cent less. Opioid addiction is a huge issue in Australia, and by putting data in the hands of clinicians, SLHD is actively making a difference. The data is driving positive changes in clinical practices, helping to avoid the inappropriate treatment for lower back pain. Through the access of the data, health professionals are now comparing data across hospitals, igniting conversations about trends, prescription rates and overall patient care.
It’s time to maximise data investments
Local governments are under pressure to do more with less and must be effective in identifying where they put their resources. Data is imperative in helping decision-makers decide where to best allocate these resources and identify patterns for local governments to act upon.
To speak with and network with industry colleagues on the use of data in the public sector across ANZ and beyond, register for Qlik’s APAC public sector summit for data integration and analytics, taking place on Tuesday, 20 April 2021.