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Lessons Learned at the IBM Government Analytics Conference


April 12, 2013

Doug Hadden, VP Products

Our busy conference week began Tuesday at the IBM Government Analytics Conference in Washington. The conference was very US focused, but I think that there are some critical takeaways about big data and analytics for all government organizations:

  • Transparency and open data initiatives are helping to drive the need for analytics in government
  • Governments are leveraging analytics to address complex “horizontal” problems despite being organized in a “vertical” fashion
  • There remains cultural barriers to adoption including the view that analytics can’t help experts and that analytics exposes errors in government = political problems
  • Analytical results needs to change process and policy
  • Budget and performance management needs to be core to financial management systems, not something that is handled in some external data warehouse
  • Timeliness of data is often more important than quality of data

IBM Government Analytics Forum 2013 Takeaways

April 9 in Washington DC.

Storified by · Fri, Apr 12 2013 06:25:37

RT @IBMGovernment: Data driven government #omb – hearing how #bigdata and #analytics are needed now #ibmgov13 Nijman
#ibmgov13 presentations on line for 30 days…FreeBalance
The conference was very much focused on the United States. 
Another #ibmgov13 takeaway: was talk of using US gov or commercial #bestpractices, only non-US gov mentioned (briefly)? UKFreeBalance
Theme: government problems horizontal but bureaucracies are vertical
Dustin Brown #OMB: governments have horizontal problems & vertical bureaucracy #ibmgov13FreeBalance
IMO: focused on agency goals does not create effective government performance management #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Theme: increase in data sources and the need for new tools:
David McClure @usgsa: collaboration platforms becoming rich mining field for knowledge capture #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Danny Werfel #OMB: urgency for data driven gov’t enabled thru new #bigdata technology #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Douglas Glenn: #accounting moving to #visualization #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Theme: some lessons learned were discussed and I was surprised at the extent to which ‘improper payments’ is a problem in the US Federal Government
.@iayers: if not using regression & randomized trials will result in bad #analytics #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Randomized trials to move from gut based to fact based decisions at #ibmgov13.IBM Government
.@iayers: predictive #analytics moved from dashboards to scoring #ibmgov13FreeBalance
.@iayers: crude algorithms often better predictors than experts #ibmgov13FreeBalance
David McClure @usgsa: often best to cut through data quickly & we know the critical issues, #analytics in bite sized chunks #ibmgov13FreeBalance
.@iayers: don’t beat up the data until it confesses everything #analytics #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Gobsmacked from #ibmgov13 that ‘improper payments’ is a pervasive US gov’t problemFreeBalance
RT @freebalance: David McClure @usgsa: recommends quick light #analytics wins #ibmgov13Dennis D. McDonald
Dustin Brown #OMB: don’t let perfect be enemy of the good when looking at #dataquality #ibmgov13 #analyticsFreeBalance
Dustin Brown #OMB: sees giving data back to stakeholders by showing where things are in progress important #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Scary: Learning more about the deficiencies of US federal gov financial management #ibmgov13FreeBalance
IMO: budget agility in gov & scenario planning is not for #anaytics apps, should be core & integrated with gov financial system #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Theme: analytics are great but shouldn’t delay decisions and ought to change policies.
.@iayers: the more important a question is, the more contentious it should be #analytics #ibmgov13FreeBalance
David McClure @usgsa: gov collects, analyzes data & writes reports but doesn’t change processes often #ibmgov13FreeBalance
David McClure @usgsa: perhaps #transparency can open up evidence-based gov decision-making #ibmgov13FreeBalance
David McClure @usgsa:the more data you collect,complexity can be introduced into decision-making processes #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Good #ibmgov13 question: is #bigdata #analytics becoming a decision-making crutch?FreeBalance
Theme: culture change needed to change risk-adverse views on transparency and the notion that opening up to non-experts is a good idea.
.@iayers: is an iron law of resistance, what I do is too idiosyncratic to be predictive in analytics #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Douglas Glenn: need to socialize rolling out #analytics, setting thresholds in gov #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Dan Chenok: need for incentives in gov & with contractors to change #analytics culture #ibmgov13FreeBalance
David McClure @usgsa: #analytics tools so good that can put up with some inefficiencies #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Dustin Brown #OMB: gov #accountability is about understanding why targets not being met #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Anne Altman: often need outsider viewpoint or front-line ‘non experts’ to get #bigdata insight #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Danny Werfel #OMB: vast universe of data & operational challenges in gov makes #analytics initiative #ROI difficult #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Douglas Glenn: in score carding, red is at risk, not wrong #ibmgov13FreeBalance
The theme of using analytics to overcome budget problems:
Anne Altman hopeful that #Sequestration crisis will improve gov prioritize toon #ibmgov13FreeBalance
@AnneAltman hopeful that #Sequestration crisis will improve gov prioritization through careful analysis of missions #ibmgov13IBM Government
Good #ibmgov13 question: #Sequestration about across the board cuts rather than prioriesFreeBalance
#ibmgov13 question on gov stovepipes & culture>wonder how 1yr budgets, congressional system, political appointees affect thisFreeBalance
Theme: Many cliches used, especially “best practices”:
#ibmgov13 cliche alert: "commercial #bestpractices"FreeBalance
Oh no, Ed Weber warns that we’ll be learning about #bestpractices (ie what the software does) #ibmgov13FreeBalance
Best practice in program management from @HUDNews – Make it matter, don’t let perfect get in the way of good #ibmgov13IBM Government
Performance improvement best practice @DeptVetAffairs – #analytics keeps focus on mission #ibmgov13IBM Government
RT @IBMGovernment: We don’t know what we don’t know – why #analytics is critical to understanding voice of constituents #ibmgov13Mohamed Karam
David McClure @usgsa: tech architecture great but doesn’t tell you how to consume data in government #ibmgov13FreeBalance
@AnneAltman finding the needle in the haystack by focusing on #analytics over architecture #ibmgov13IBM Government
That’s the second time today that ‘flat files’ brought up as #bigdata limiter #ibmgov13FreeBalance

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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