With public sector investment in business intelligence (BI) just half that of the private sector, the public sector is missing much of the information it needs for decision-making, planning and monitoring.
And it's a failure that is likely to seriously impede government efforts to modernize services, according to Butler Group senior research analyst Sarah Burnett.
In a report, called Public Sector Missing out on BI, Burnett notes low-levels of BI investment cast doubt on the way options for modernizations are evaluated and selected and progress against targets measured as governments seek to transform themselves into more responsive entities.
Analysis of a range of Datamonitor surveys carried out last year suggested just one in five public sector organisations in the US and Europe had already invested in BI, as opposed to two in five in the private sector (figures for Australia were not available). It also found just 15 percent of public sector organisations planned to invest in BI in the next two years, compared to 28 percent of private sector companies.
"Butler Group believes that 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," Burnett says. "These findings show that the modernisation effort is still mainly focused on getting the basics of IT right as opposed to more advanced deployments, such as BI. However, BI is the cornerstone of decision-making [and] is based on facts rather than perceptions. It also allows the outcome of those decisions to be monitored and acted upon. BI is an ideal tool for ensuring operational efficiencies, and performance improvements. These are, after all, the goals of Government modernisation."
Burnett points out public sector agencies have much to gain from the process of implementing a strategic BI solution, with a chance to eliminate operational silos and modernize outmoded work practices.
"Public sector modernisation 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. . . .
"Many are continuing with e-government initiatives in order to become more constituent-centric. Shared services, too, are gathering momentum as a means of delivering bigger and better functions. However, with the low level of investment in BI, it is not clear how options for modernization are evaluated and selected, and progress against targets measured," she writes.
"BI software delivers corporate management and strategy support tools 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 organisations make better informed decisions.
"Additionally, BI solutions can ensure that the public sector meets its key performance indicators (KPIs), and manages its limited resources well."
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