September 30, 2011 – Citing parallels to a blockbuster, data-centered baseball movie, a White House budget director is pointing to significant financial savings and effective decision-making from the use of analytics across government agencies.

In her new blog post, “Saving Taxpayer Dollars With Moneyball,” Shelley Metzenbaum, associate director with the federal Office of Management and Budget (OMB), noted recent campaigns and quarterly reviews have been geared at cutting waste. She said that some agencies had already found success with analytics, such as predictive analytics scenarios now painted by the Social Security Administration, and an initiative by the Department of Transportation to cut deaths from distracted driving they found in analysis of motor vehicle crashes.

“[I]t is why agencies need to build their analytic capacity even as they cope with budget cuts by tapping and deploying analytic expertise to help program offices and project managers identify opportunities to accomplish more with less,” she wrote.

This includes management being able to ask the “right” questions and direct money and agreements where they are finding results, Metzenbaum added.

A presidential cabinet office, the OMB oversees the preparation and administration of the federal budget. The federal government is the largest IT customer in the world, with an existing plan for cost-cutting, security and cloud deployments in place from federal CIO Steven VanRoekel.

Throughout the blog, Metzenbaum refers to “Moneyball,” the big-screen adaptation of the novel about player data proponent Billy Beane. Steve Miller, BI and analytics analyst with OpenBI, also explored the data angles of “Moneyball” in his latest blog for Information Management, where he said there is still the opportunity for “team confoundment” within sophisticated analytics.

Brian McDonough, analyst with firm IDC, agreed that increased focus on analytics is an “important step” in linking strategy with execution from the federal government. McDonough says that properly aligned analytic measures could clear up performance management mandates seen in teacher accountability and incentives from the No Child Left Behind education law. Overall, the adoption of analytics across different federal agencies might take some time and additional vocal support like the write-up by Metzenbaum.

“Aside from cultural change, the government will face the hurdle of providing access to a broader audience of employees and stakeholders simply because of the cost of software licensing and the need to demonstrate why providing broader access will generate a return on investment,” McDonough says.

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