Connection

The Official Blog of Forecast5 Analytics

Mike English
WRITTEN BY
Mike English

Analytics, Business Intelligence, Collaboration, Data Visualization

Collaborative Analytics: A Unique Opportunity for the Public Sector

Posted on Apr 4, 2013 12:00:00 AM

Business Intelligence (BI) technology continues to revolutionize all aspects of global business. Corporations have progressively deployed analytics to increase performance in nearly all functions of commerce. And…with increasing effectiveness and scale, companies are intertwining massive data networks with advanced analytics to gain competitive advantages.

However, in the corporate sector, the premise of competition is limiting the opportunity for collaboration. Corporations use analytics to compete with a profit motive, and therefore have a fundamentally limited desire to collaborate around data. Businesses, by their nature, are not motivated to share internal metrics and key performance benchmarks. (Notwithstanding the data that may be shared between companies with a structured partnership…or, information that is released publicly by a corporation.)

The public sector has a completely different paradigm with its information. To a high degree (with limited exceptions), the data generated by a local government is public. This fact creates two distinct differences…that generate two corresponding opportunities:

  1. Whereas corporate data and BI strategies are mostly contained within each enterprise, public sector BI can be deployed across enterprises.
  2. Whereas meaningful collaboration is limited among corporate entities, the public sector is wired to collaborate.

There are certainly situations in which local governments may have “competing” interests. But, traditionally, local governments are peer-connected organizations that seek collegial input and strive for best practice through professional development associations. Additionally, these professional networks may extend into inter-governmental “business” relationships that have been formed for the purpose of increasing purchasing power and delivering economies of scale.

For decades, the public sector has effectively used intergovernmental partnerships for many purposes ranging from insurance pools to the cooperative purchasing of energy. Now, a new opportunity exists for local governments to partner and collaborate… with data. New concepts of combining data analytics and social networking are allowing the public sector to leverage this technology in a way that corporations simply will not.

“Collaborative BI” for corporations has been limited to intra-company communications or simple social messaging between IT staffers or business analysts searching for new ideas. The new Collaborative Analytics paradigm for local governments has exponentially increased the value of the technology by moving the conversation to executive level, peer-to-peer communications. Enhanced by embedded analytics, these discussions are able to quickly move beyond the conceptual… and directly to the actionable.

The public sector is in a unique position to leverage technology and long-standing, collaborative relationships to benefit communities. It will be fun to watch it evolve.

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Mike English is a founder and the CEO/President of Forecast5 Analytics, Inc. – a technology company focused on software development and data analytics for the public sector.  Mike has spent his entire career concentrating on the development of financial and strategic solutions for schools and municipalities.  Forecast5 is headquartered in Naperville, Illinois – a suburb 30 miles west of Chicago.

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