Informing government decision makers through research & industry insights.

Data-Driven Government: So Close, Yet So Far Away

Kristoffer Tripplaar

Measuring performance in government is not new. For at least twenty years, since the initial Government Performance and Results Act was passed in 1993, using metrics to determine the impact of policies has been a federal priority. However, according to Office of Personnel Management Chief Operating Officer Angela Bailey and Vice-Chair of Government Transformation Initiative Steve Goodrich, there is still a long road ahead. Agencies have been better at collecting technical and operational data, but ‘moneyball’ government, wherein agencies use data to determine program performance and guide policy, remains largely elusive. To get there, Bailey and Goodrich suggested the federal government needs to focus on investing in both its technology and its workforce.

In terms of technology, government needs better data analysis tools and standardization. Agencies already collect vast amounts of data, but they often lack the tools needed to fully leverage it. As big data analytics become increasingly advanced, agencies are not allotted sufficient budgets to keep up. Because agencies collect data from various sources and in various formats, it is often unstandardized and therefore difficult to integrate and translate into useful information. The recently passed DATA Act helps address this issue by requiring agencies to standardize data collection and storage procedures, but obtaining higher quality data remains a significant challenge.

More fundamental than acquiring more advanced technology is fostering a data-friendly workforce. Bailey noted that federal employees are themselves becoming more interested in mining data for insights, but overall awareness of the value data analysis can bring agencies is lacking. Goodrich highlighted the need build data science into education and training programs for federal managers in particular to foster a data-friendly culture.

Collecting and analyzing data is not a panacea for federal agencies, but greater reliance on data-driven insights can help agencies more effectively achieve their missions. As Bailey described it, agencies do not need data to dictate policy, just to provide parameters for what works and what doesn’t.

For more from 2014 Excellence in Government, check out GBC’s EIG2014 recap series.

Disclaimer

This post is written by Government Business Council; it is not written by and does not necessarily reflect the views of Government Executive Media Group's editorial staff. For more information, see our advertising guidelines.

FROM OUR SPONSORS

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Forecasting Cloud's Future

    Conversations with Federal, State, and Local Technology Leaders on Cloud-Driven Digital Transformation

    Download
  • The Big Data Campaign Trail

    With everyone so focused on security following recent breaches at federal, state and local government and education institutions, there has been little emphasis on the need for better operations. This report breaks down some of the biggest operational challenges in IT management and provides insight into how agencies and leaders can successfully solve some of the biggest lingering government IT issues.

    Download
  • Communicating Innovation in Federal Government

    Federal Government spending on ‘obsolete technology’ continues to increase. Supporting the twin pillars of improved digital service delivery for citizens on the one hand, and the increasingly optimized and flexible working practices for federal employees on the other, are neither easy nor inexpensive tasks. This whitepaper explores how federal agencies can leverage the value of existing agency technology assets while offering IT leaders the ability to implement the kind of employee productivity, citizen service improvements and security demanded by federal oversight.

    Download
  • IT Transformation Trends: Flash Storage as a Strategic IT Asset

    MIT Technology Review: Flash Storage As a Strategic IT Asset For the first time in decades, IT leaders now consider all-flash storage as a strategic IT asset. IT has become a new operating model that enables self-service with high performance, density and resiliency. It also offers the self-service agility of the public cloud combined with the security, performance, and cost-effectiveness of a private cloud. Download this MIT Technology Review paper to learn more about how all-flash storage is transforming the data center.

    Download
  • Ongoing Efforts in Veterans Health Care Modernization

    This report discusses the current state of veterans health care

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.