Analytics: Introduction


Analytics: Introduction

Monday, December 12th, 2011 - 20:00
Monday, December 12, 2011 - 18:49
Agencies and departments have long been operating under the tightest of cost constraints and there is continued pressure to "do more with less." The recent rise of the debt ceiling and its subsequent budget cuts will bring fiscal challenges that are unprecedented. During these times of uncertainty, departments and agencies will have to operate more efficiently and analytics will help empower agencies to leverage new technologies to drive data-based decision making.

Welcome to the next edition of our blog series focused on how analytics can help organizations not only cut costs, but also improve operational performance. In this introductory post, we will define what we mean by business analytics and introduce a recent study that was published on the power of analytics and some of the benefits that can be achieved through the application of business analytics in government departments and agencies.

Let’s first define what we mean by “business analytics.”

What is Business Analytics?

  • Business Analytics leverages information to enable organization transformation and creates sustainable differentiation through advanced information management and analytical services, deep industry and domain expertise, and world class solutions required to address complex business and societal opportunities across an entity's entire value chain.
  • Business Analytics empowers decision-making, action, and delivers a new kind of intelligence through a combination of predictive insight, the power of smarter technology, and industry frameworks and accelerators to optimize processes and improve performance.
  • Business Analytics provides a solid information and analytics foundation and goes beyond traditional capabilities with applied research and emerging technologies that will address the needs of a more instrumented, interconnected, and intelligent world.

From Data to Decisions: The Power of Analytics" Study

The launch of the IBM Center for The Business of Government analytics blog comes at a very opportune time - the Partnership for Public Service in collaboration with the Center for The Business of Government recently published a study titled, "From Data to Decisions: The Power of Analytics."

This study set out to analyze federal agencies use of analytics and how it helped them achieve better program results. Over the next few months, our hope in this blog series is to continue the discussion on some of the aspects spurred in the study and provide some thought leadership on how your organization could achieve similar results through the application of business analytics

The report profiles three agency programs: the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) jointly administered Veterans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program; the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) Safety Management System (SMS); and the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), specifically the nursing homes and transplant programs.

The study also includes vignettes of four others agencies (the Coast Guard's Business Intelligence System (CGBI), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) “Click It or Ticket” campaign, the Department of the Navy's Naval Aviation Enterprise (NAE), and the Social Security Administration’s (SSA) use of mission analytics in customer service. The study highlights the common practices these agencies used to gather data and transform data into information and knowledge that drive decision making and improves program results. Some of these common best practices are as follows:

  • Leaders focus on transparency, accountability, and results
  • Staff have a clear line of sight from where they stood to the desired goals and outcomes
  • Agencies invest in technology, tools, and talent
  • Agencies cultivate and leverage partnerships across the agency and with the partners who deliver service

Coming up next

Join us next time as we demonstrate how effective use of business analytics has helped one commercial organization improvee its operational performance while cutting costs.

Let us hear from you

We encourage and look forward to your comments and suggestions throughout this series!


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