5th July 2018

7 Reasons why local councils in ANZ are embracing Business Intelligence

Ben Cowling, Managing Director, Local and State Government Solutions at Civica International

The sheer amount of data in government is staggering, yet it’s simply not being leveraged or utilised effectively. In fact, research suggests that more data has been created in the last two years than in the history of mankind. By 2020, 1.7 megabytes of new information will be created every second for every human being on the planet. Our annual data generation will have grown to 44 zettabytes (44 trillion GB)1—approximately 10 times its current rate.

As data generation takes place, the public’s demand for information will continue to grow. Hence it is imperative that councils implement tools to help them access and sift through the vast pools of data. While big data and analytics may still be gaining prominence, councils across Australia and New Zealand need to invest in and focus on business intelligence (BI) now.

1- Providing a basis for deploying new technologies

In the next few years, big data, AI, and analytics will be an area of focus for most public sector organisations. AI in analytics will also gain prominence as new technologies such as virtual reality, augmented reality, and machine learning are set to be a part of the Digital transformation strategies of the councils of tomorrow. Data integrity will be a priority for implementing these new technologies, and BI will play an important role in establishing data integrity.

2 – Informed decision making

BI tools enable councils to analyse data collected for more informed decision making. The data can help councils set priorities and make right choices when planning initiatives that deliver the right outcomes2. Getting data out of spreadsheets and into a system reduces the risk of incorrect information. Being able to use BI can help decision makers drill down to specific data and distribute it easily between decision makers helping councils improve internal processes, citizen’s experience, and accelerate data-driven decisions.

3 - Identifying and eliminating inefficiencies

BI can also help councils understand the success or failure of current processes by offering all the information with a few clicks. BI gives decision makers evidence on what is working well and what is not, thereby giving them the ability to eliminate ineffective processes.

4 – Improve employee performance and outcomes

Employees will be able to access actionable insights instead of sifting through large amounts of data in order to figure out what’s going on in their organisations. Decisions driven by real-time shift employees from an executing focus to a strategic focus, which subsequently drives improved performance and better outcomes.

5- Customer intelligence

BI offers councils tools to analyse the customer data captured. This not only helps make life easier for citizens through a tailored approach, but also helps councils meet and exceed customer expectations in today’s fast-paced always-on age.

6 – Provide an easy-to-use, responsive and mobile platform

The ability to consolidate data into one platform is a key advantage of BI. Local councils can opt for a solution that provides access into financial and non-financial data from different areas of the business, such as Human Resources, Communications, Finance, and Assets etc. Having this information at fingertips on mobile devices such as smartphones and tablets ensure that the council leaders can make informed decisions quickly. Mobile access to office systems can empower those working remotely, making it easy for them to gather information and make decisions on the spot. Councils reveal that mobile access to information is helpful especially during council meetings as they can offer more timely answers with up to date data to questions raised about the status of key projects, budgets, KPIs, etc.

7 – Data convergence

BI enables organisations to converge data into a single dashboard that can be accessed by decision-makers and other strategic employees within the organisation. Not only can this help in monitoring and identifying issues, but can also help evaluate options that will deliver the best outcomes based on the top line view of the council.

According to Gartner3, the next steps for BI is analytical queries that will be generated via search, natural language processing (NLP) or the likes of Alexa, Siri and other voice assistants. They predict that by 2020, 50 percent of queries will come from voice assistants.

As analytics evolve, technology platforms will become easier to operate. Hence organisations will need less ‘technical’ people to use them. However, it’ll be crucial to invest in employees with strategic thinking that can extract the best of their BI solutions. Additionally, putting data in the front seat will help organisations gain a competitive advantage. As a result, they will be able to offer better experience, products and make wiser decisions.

Government News has published this thought leadership piece. Click here to read it.