London — April 13
According to Butler Group, a European IT research and advisory organization, only one in five public sector organizations in the United States and Europe already have invested in business intelligence (BI), as opposed to two in five in the private sector.
“These figures indicate that the public sector does not have all the information that it can at its disposal for decision-making, planning and monitoring at a time when most governments are working on modernization of their services,” said Sarah Burnett, Butler Group senior research analyst. “BI can help government departments and organizations make informed decisions by using technology that is designed for that purpose.”
Public sector modernization has become a priority area for governments all over the world.
Many are engaged in long-term transformation projects to provide more efficient services for their constituents.
Information and communication technology (ICT) is an essential part of the modernization agenda.
Technology is providing governments with new channels to engage with their constituents, to build capacity and deliver services to their increasingly mobile workforce and population.
Many are continuing with e-government initiatives to become more constituent-centric. Shared services too are gathering momentum as a means of delivering bigger and better functions.
With the low level of investment in BI, however, it is not clear how options for modernizations are evaluated and selected and progress against targets measured.
BI software applications deliver corporate management and strategy support functionality that enable enterprises to collect and store large volumes of corporate data and then view this data in a form that can be used for business analysis and planning.
BI can help government departments and other public sector organizations make better-informed decisions.
Additionally, BI solutions can ensure the public sector meets its key peiformance Indicators (KPIs) and manages its limited resources well.
To assess the extent of BI deployments in the public sector, Butler Group analyzed the results of a number of Datamonitor surveys carried out in 2006, to find that only one in five public sector organisztions in the United States and Europe already have invested in BI, as opposed to two in five in the private sector (excluding small companies).
Further, only 15 percent of public sector organizations plan to invest in BI in the next two years, whereas more than 28 percent of private sector companies intend to do so.
IT security is the top priority area for the public sector, with 40 percent planning to invest in it in the next two years.
Other priorities for investment include IT framework, infrastructure and desktop management.
These findings show the modernization effort is still mainly focused on getting the basics of IT right, as opposed to more advanced deployments such as BI.
BI is the cornerstone of decision-making based on facts rather than perceptions. It also allows the outcome of those decisions to be monitored and acted upon.
BI also matters outside the modernixation agenda. When it comes to government, every decision, no matter how simple, can affect the lives and livelihoods of thousands, if not millions, of people.
Therefore, it is essential that government departments and organizations make informed decisions by using technology that is designed for that purpose.
BI solutions would enable the public sector to analyze data to find patterns and trends that otherwise go unnoticed.
For example, BI analytical tools can be used to search data for answers to specific questions. Managed queries can be defined to run on a regular basis to deliver analysis related to predetermined metrics.
Alternatively, knowledge workers can perform ad-hoc queries to find information related to particular cases or events investigate theories or simulate “what if?” scenarios. Performance management tools allow agencies to measure and track progress towards goals, whether those goals are related to resource usage, services for constituents or outright program performance.
Butler Group believes the public sector is missing out on the benefits of BI and therefore is limiting its ability to pick and choose the best options for modernization.
BI is an ideal tool not just for policy-level decision-making but also for ensuring operational efficiencies and performance improvements. These are after all the goals of government modernization.
There is also much benefit to be gained from the process of implementing a strategic BI solution, which can help the public sector get rid of silos of operational information and achieve its objective of modernizing outdated working practices.