Other parts of this series:
- Avoid the storm: what Europe needs to know to enact a new public services model
- What public leaders need to know to make a decision for change
- Turning ambition into action: How to launch the future of public service
- Tax compliance in the age of Ultron
- Preparing for the possible: the public service transition to a post-digital era
- Why has the civil servant been forgotten?
- Is singularity the end of the world as we know it?
- Is ZMOC a dirty word? Not for a data scientist
- Why becoming a data-driven organisation is a process, not a project
Data is gold. That’s the mantra that is fuelling organisational transformation in the digital era. The value of being a data-driven organisation is undeniable. It leads to better decision-making, empowers employees to deliver better products and services and helps enhance the customer experience. But knowing it and doing it are two very different things.
While most agencies aim to become data-driven, their piecemeal approach prevents success. Whether it’s from fear of change or a lack of strategy, their data remains in silos and full value is never realised.
For instance, many agencies start by addressing a single business issue to show how data insights can improve the service or process. But once it’s proven that data insights can make a difference, the question becomes “what now?” If the answer is to repeat the Proof of Concept process with another business challenge or to just invest in new technology, all you’re doing is proving that there’s value in data, but you’re not embedding change into the business.
However, organisations that take the duel approach of solving business challenges and building capabilities simultaneously are far more likely to succeed and benefit from data insights.
Here’s an example of a European tax agency adopting this approach: facing the loss of billions of dollars in uncollected debt, it combined complex data analytics and a ten-year forensic process review of decisions to develop a new operating model. This data-driven approach helped it strengthen agency accountability and reduce its 30 million cases of debt backlog. By focusing on use case and building capabilities at the same time, it has become more efficient in identifying and collecting debt.
Scalable by design
Organisations do not lack data. Most have more than enough information to make insightful and impactful decisions. The problem is that this data is often untapped and poorly managed. Taking steps to become a data-driven organisation can’t be done in a vacuum. It’s a process.
Here are some practical steps to kickstart this transformation:
- Prepare to change your operating model to introduce change in your business operations, IT and data and analytics divisions simultaneously
- Create a new governance structure that values and fosters a data-driven organisation
- Secure a commitment from top leadership to prioritise becoming data-driven
- Establish independent reviews of the value created by embedded data insights
- Upskill your workforce, shifting from knowledge experts to insight adopters
To become data-driven, it’s important not to rush into the process. You need to make data a part of your culture and align both the quantitative and operational aspects of this transformation. Using data effectively means changing the culture on all fronts – the governance model, decision-making process, reporting mechanisms and enterprise-wide knowledge sharing.