The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) released a new report that makes the case for insight enabling analytics. NASCIO explains that as data analytics increasingly plays a role in service delivery for states, state CIOs are often taking the lead in these efforts.

With that expanded role in mind, NASCIO offers up considerations for enabling data analytics, as well as recommendations to create a strong data analytics ecosystem.

“The state government portfolio of data is enormous. It is critical to effective analytics that we determine what data is actually useful, or most useful, for surfacing insights,” the report says.

To achieve insight enabling analytics, NASCIO says states must have access to high-quality, reliable, timely data resources. “This requirement is what precipitates the emphasis on data governance practices, treating data as a strategic asset and developing an enterprise-wide data strategy,” NASCIO says. Effective data management is essential to developing the capability to do effective data analysis.

In terms of how to get started, NASCIO said the focus needs to be on creating a “ubiquitous approach to analytics” within state governments. In order to serve residents better, state CIOs need to move towards “an ecosystem of rationale,” where state governments are better able to provide evidence to others to support their decisions and develop evidence-based policies with both data and analytics.

“This ecosystem is a foundation for creating an environment based on objective reasoning which removes or reduces other motivations, agendas, and bias,” the report says.

To create the environment and culture needed for insight enabling analytics, NASCIO offers state CIOs and their teams recommendations:

  • “First, determine your philosophical approach to analytics. Will this management initiative be a centralized, enterprise-wide function, or will it be a federated organization?
  • Determine how the analytics function should be positioned to most effectively fulfill its intended function. Consider human capital, organizational culture, knowledge assets, and the Four Forces in placing the function organizationally. The applicability of these various factors is determined by the particular circumstances to which they are applied.
  • Determine the source for necessary capabilities such as internal, through crossjurisdictional collaborative arrangements, and/or via industry partners.
  • Focus on two important goals for acting on the results of any insights. First, the best answer wins – this removes any personal bias. Secondly, think citizen first – this keeps our primary objective in front of us – citizen outcomes.
  • Look at success stories across state government and industry – and emulate what works regarding best practices and shared services. Optimize and leverage best of breed.
  • Early initiatives should focus on quick wins showing the effectiveness and importance of analytics.
  • Partner with the state chief data officer to establish appropriate analytics governance, operating discipline, and training.
  • Apply lean discipline to existing processes to make necessary incremental improvements based on supporting analysis.
  • Evaluate services to determine which services should be commoditized and which should be centralized.
  • Consider establishing a center of excellence for promoting analytics, providing learning, providing consulting, and providing technology transfer.
  • Additional applications should address how to create an outstanding customer experience and financial success and not get distracted by the latest ‘shiny object.’”
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Kate Polit
Kate Polit
Kate Polit is MeriTalk SLG's Assistant Copy & Production Editor, covering Cybersecurity, Education, Homeland Security, Veterans Affairs