November 16, 2011 – Analytics is rising in use for efficiencies and planning at federal agencies, though staff cuts and data quality access still hinder its proliferation, according to a new study from Deloitte.

In “Demanding More, Federal Agencies’ Data Use to Drive Mission and Meet Mandates,” Deloitte assessed survey answers from focus groups that included federal executives and information managers.

More than 70 percent of federal government managers in the survey stated that data collection is rising in importance due to increasing budgetary constraints. However, 58 percent of respondents reported that meaningful use of the data is challenging. And while 45 percent of federal information managers are harnessing predictive analytics, less than one-third of those respondents regularly assess the quality of that information, according to the survey.

Cuts to staff remains the prime source of meeting these and other governmental budget restrictions, at 56 percent, though 23 percent of respondents will analyze data to review programs, payments and business systems, according to the report.

The Deloitte report found that data collection and capabilities within federal agencies are limited by complicated processes and insufficient staff and resources, as well as diverse GRC demands from federal oversight offices.

Internal and external use of analytics provides opportunities for this budget and those going forward, as well as other data opportunities, according to Brad Eskind, federal tech and analytics leader at the advisory firm.

“Analytics can help agencies extract real value out of their existing data and can reveal under-performing programs, fraud, waste, and abuse,” Eskind said in a news release on the findings. “Preemptive steps like this can help agencies allocate their limited resources more effectively, make more strategic cuts, and emerge as leaner and more effective organizations.”

Federal CIO Steven VanRoekel recently announced a four-step outline for data management efficiencies, as well as the development of an IT innovation roadmap for analytics, cloud computing and Web services. Those plans include cutting overlapping IT programs and closing more data centers, along with tougher and tighter budgets.

To access the report, click here.

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