Analytics: Current Federal Analytics Strategy Part I of II


Analytics: Current Federal Analytics Strategy Part I of II

Tuesday, January 10th, 2012 - 13:37
Monday, January 9, 2012 - 16:31
The majority of federal agencies collect vast amounts of data, but what do these agencies actually learn from the data? With the application of analytics, agency leaders can use data to make informed decisions and improve the performance of their organization, while reducing costs. The President’s budget echoes this by placing an emphasis on analytics and performance, especially through the passage of GPRA 2.0.

In our blogs last week, we discussed the vision of analytics in the future and the three key principles government agencies will need to apply to dramatically reduce costs and drive performance improvement. Specifically we stated that, “the competitive advantage will go to the team best able to understand the current environment, predict future outcomes, and learn how changes impact outcomes quicker than anyone else.” This is not only relevant, but also necessary in today’s government.  In the past, we have seen the use of historical data driving decisions.  Going forward, we need to see real-time data driving decisions through the use of dashboards, scorecards, and simulations.  Today, we will focus on the current federal analytics strategy.

With the passage of the president’s budget, we continue to see the focus of government on the improvement of analytics and performance.  The Office of Management and Budget (OMB) and the Performance Improvement Council (PIC) focus on the use of analytics in government through the:

  • establishment of community-of-practice highlighting best practices via internal reviews at 24 agencies
  • development of guidance related to goal-setting, measurement, analysis, and results review
  • transition to greater transparency through the use of for annual performance planning and reports

These must feed into better problem solving and decision making in order to cut costs and improve performance. 

Most importantly, the passage of the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 (GPRA 2.0) is on the right path.  At the heart of GPRA 2.0, agencies will need to better tie their strategic goals to actual data through analytics.  The legislation intends to help agencies focus on performance data by increasing the frequency of reporting and reviews (from annual to quarterly).  The Senate committee report on GPRA 2.0 notes the law “strengthens the Congressional consultation process by encouraging agencies to describe how agency goals and objectives incorporate the views and suggestions obtained through consultations with Congress.”  

By requiring agencies to specifically link their performance goals to their strategic plan with clear milestones, the hope is that agencies are focusing on performance on a quarterly, weekly, or even daily basis as oppose to annually when previous legislation required agencies to report up to OMB and Congress.  This will be a huge cultural change in some agencies and will require strong leadership to implement effectively. 

Coming up next

Join us next time as we delve into the importance of technology when discussing the current state of performance data and reemphasize agencies that are already using analytics to help drive better decisions.

Let us hear from you

How has this legislation helped your organization and what challenges did your organization have to overcome? Share your thoughts here!

For more information

For more information on the GPRA Modernization Act of 2010 and for summary and exerts of the law, reference our previous blog series on The Center for the Business of Government blog (part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7, part 8).




David Treworgy

Mr. Treworgy has over 20 years of analytics and project management experience. In addition to his primary focus on United States departments and agencies, he also has carried out work for a number of government organizations in Europe and Africa. A thought leader in the area of strategy and information analytics, Mr. Treworgy publishes frequent articles, presents often at conferences, and has provided expert witness testimony on several occasions, including at a joint Senate / House of Representatives hearing. He graduated with a BA in Economics from Williams College and an MBA from Harvard University.

David Treworgy (



Greg Greben is Vice President and Market Leader for Business Analytics and Optimization (BAO), IBM Global Business Services, US Public Sector.