Adopting a Data-Driven Culture Enhances Digital Transformation on the Path to a Post-COVID World

Blue Planet Studio/Shutterstock.com

Building a data-driven culture isn't easy, but it's important.

If some government agencies were taking small steps toward digital transformation prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the outbreak of the novel coronavirus certainly accelerated movement in that direction. The global spread of the virus has ushered in mass behavior and work changes that will have a long-lasting impact on how agencies operate and improve the types of interactions citizens have with government. 

Federal agencies that invested in modern technology such as automation and cloud infrastructures, cybersecurity improvements, scalable collaboration solutions, and data management practices, have been able to further transition into a digital environment to accommodate the surge in teleworking and delivery of digital services to citizens, according to Federal CIO Suzette Kent. Those agencies that did not are now playing catch up.

Adopting a more data-driven culture and harnessing the power of data analytics can help agencies begin or speed up their digital transformation journey. A data-driven public sector seeks to transform the design, delivery, and monitoring of public policies and services through the management and use of data. Data, and proper access to that data, is the key.

Agencies Leveraging Data

Multiple agencies have leveraged data and technology such as artificial intelligence to ramp up and inform their COVID-19 response-related actions, Kent noted in a blog. In fact, the Department of Health and Human Services created a system, in nine days, called HHS Protect, which provides a common operating picture of the spread, impact, and behavior of the virus so members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force can analyze policy options with data insights. 

On the municipal side, the City of Boston launched two data analytic dashboards that allow residents to easily track the number of cases of COVID-19 across the city and throughout the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. The dashboards are part of a suite of digital tools available to residents, which include a texting service available in six languages, online city services, and frequently updated resources and factsheets available on boston.gov/coronavirus.

Going forward agencies will need the right digital transformation strategy, harnessing the power of data, to deploy the right intelligent technologies and platforms needed to push data-driven innovation that can be deployed directly into government processes. 

What’s Needed 

How then can public sector agencies adopt a data-driven culture that will help infuse data into every decision-making process? Here are some steps to consider:

1) Improve Data Maturity.  Agencies need the ability to collect, report, and analyze data. However, they first must understand where they are in their Data Maturity Curve, which measures how advanced an organization’s data analysis capability is. Knowing where an agency is on the curve will help maximize the value of data while minimizing risk. The curve includes:

  • The Data Maturity Curve starts at zero, Lack of Data for Analytical Projects, where key data sources are never or inadequately collected and stored. Data is collected manually with significant errors.
  • Many agencies might be in the first stage, Isolated Data Projects, where business units work with data throughout an agency in an uncoordinated fashion with no shared definitions and process, though the beginnings of a data-driven culture may be present. 
  • Or they may be in the second stage, Secure, Reliable Data Repository, where a data warehouse or lake system with well-defined management and governance are utilized to provide a foundational system for reporting, data science, and key operational users.
  • In stage three, Governed Self-Service Access, employees have access to expanded data for exploration with data access granted based on levels of expertise. Reporting teams focus on operational analytics while business users run queries and extract data as needed.
  • In the fourth stage, Scientific Hub for Data Insights, users can rapidly deploy technology platforms designed to solve specific business problems. Here, a well-governed data environment and a high-functioning data science team is driving thought leadership in a variety of areas.
  • All this forethought and collaboration yields results that lead to the final stage, Insight Driven Culture, where data is woven so deeply into the fabric of an agency, it has become incorporated into every decision-making process.

To successfully move up the curve, agencies should identify and prioritize specific projects or use cases that will create value for their organization before deploying specific algorithms or platforms. 

2) Break Down Siloes, Deploy Integration Methods.  Many agencies’ data resides in a mix of on-premise systems or in a cloud, in many cases, via software-as-a-service sources. Agencies should begin to assess the various options to extract data from each unique source system. Once they understand the back-end data sources, then they should evaluate their front-end reporting needs. In many cases, there are different communities that favor different business intelligence tools, and not all tools might be directly connected to the existing data warehouses. By having the right strategies in place, agencies can determine which tools would need integration into a new enterprise data store. 

3) Harness the Power of Emerging Technology.  Agencies should leverage data and develop a strategy to integrate their digital and physical worlds more holistically. Doing so could enable new business models or services for citizens. Today both the workforce and citizens expect a consistent experience wherever they engage with an agency. Just like in their consumer experiences, citizens are no longer separating digital and physical experiences. As a result, agencies should think about leveraging the right mix of technology and tools to seamlessly integrate digital approaches and physical experiences. 

4) Create a Workforce with a Data-Driven Culture.  Focus on how agencies can infuse a data-driven mindset throughout their workforce to enhance public-private partnership collaboration across industry and develop a strategy going forward. This includes how they can execute on that vision to adopt a real data-driven culture. Transformational projects require not just the right people, but the right mix of people. Consequently, it is crucial to partner with a team that aligns with an agency’s culture, values, and mission. Building this workforce might be one of the most difficult tasks in this transformation journey but will produce the highest, long term value if done right.

Going Forward

As agencies continue to move into the new “digitized” normal, data and analytics are the key accelerants of an agency’s transformation journey.  Agencies whose workforce understands how to properly access data and analytics created through a mix of technologies, will be positioned to make the real-time and informed decisions necessary now and in a post-COVID world.

David Watts is chief digital adviser for the public sector at World Wide Technology.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.