On November 30, the Partnership for Public Service (www.ourpublicservice.org) released their new study, “From Data to Decisions: The Power of Analytics.” [i]
Keynoting the event was Shelley Metzenbaum, Associate Director for Performance and Personnel Management, OMB. She told the audience that Performance Management is a core pillar of the Obama Administration and that Measurement and Analysis was the key tenet to PM. She encouraged the audience to identify analytics practices that work and spread the word to others. She exhorted the audience to not just collect data but to use the data to pinpoint problems – “Ask Why, Why, Why” with respect to performance problems.
The report studied 7 programs[ii] in 8 federal agencies to understand how they use analytics and how it helped them achieve better program results. The study provides clear examples of how data is being used to understand problems and improve mission performance. It documents how CMS is using data to answer the question why isn’t health care quality better and how can we direct scare resources to improve it? In a similar fashion, VA and HUD are using data to figure out how to reduce homelessness of Veterans including identifying bottlenecks that are keeping their voucher program from being more successful. David Zlowe, Performance Improvement Officer at VA, emphasized in the study that the power of VA’s analytics approach isn’t in the numbers but in the discussion that are sparked….having leadership engage in an appreciative conversation guided by hard data.” The 4th program that the Partnership reported on in some detail is the FAA’s Safety Management System. This program helps to identify risks and to understand what contributes to all levels of hazards.
The Partnership event included a panel discussion with Michelle Snyder, Deputy COO, CMS; Estelle Richman, COO and Acting Deputy Secretary, HUD; and David Zlowe, PIO, VA. Ms. Snyder’s advice to the audience was, “Take data, analyze it, tell the story to the people so it relates and influences the decision makers.” Ms. Richman’s recommendation was to remember that the analytics are but a method to accomplish the goal of creating an outcome that can improve people’s lives. And Mr. Zlowe summarized by saying, “We don’t lack data, we lack answers.”
We’d like to hear your experiences driving decisions based on data in the government. If you'd like a copy of the report, write to me at: ASCdc@us.ibm.com
Director, Analytics Solution Center
[i] The Study was a collaboration between IBM’s Center for the Business of Government and the Partnership for Public Service
[ii] HUD and VA Veternans Affairs Supportive Housing (HUD-VASH) program; Safety Management System (SMS) in the FAA; HHS CMS nursing homes and transplant programs; Coast Guards’ Business Intelligence system (CGBI); NHTSA “Click it or Ticket” campaign; Navy’s Naval Aviation Enterprise; SSA’s use of mission analytics n customer service.