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Business Intelligence Solutions Critical to Government Back-Office Reform

  • August 31 2006, 1:00am EDT

Business Intelligence (BI) solutions will play an important role in U.S., state and local governments' transformation plans, says a new report by independent market analyst Datamonitor. According to the report "Government Technology - Incorporating Business Intelligence into Back Office Reform," analyzing constituent and program data with BI provides agencies with opportunities to become more citizen-centered and results-driven."Governments today are under pressure to demonstrate stakeholder value while managing resources more effectively," says Kate McCurdy, Public Sector Technology analyst with Datamonitor and author of the report. "Transforming business functions and modernizing processes enables organizations to become more efficient and ultimately deliver higher-quality service to constituents." Such "back office reform" strategies include deploying technology solutions that automate procedures, improve the accuracy of results and make methods transparent to external and internal review.

Early stages of back-office reform involve agencies implementing human resources, financial management and other enterprise resource planning (ERP) systems. Once that primary phase is accomplished, governments need data management solutions, such as BI, that enable them to integrate, analyze, report and measure information. While Datamonitor maintains that state and local government is still a nascent market for BI, there are a number of factors driving its adoption:

  • New sources of data - while back-office technology captures data about business processes and service delivery methods, the next step in agencies' reform agendas is to analyze these data to improve daily operations and resource management.
  • Results-oriented strategies - government initiatives requiring agencies to measure and report performance, such as the President's Management Agenda (PMA) in the U.S., are driving demand for tools to manage data more effectively.
  • Demands for greater accuracy - unfortunately, government programs are too often subject to inadvertent errors, fraud or abuse. BI provides agencies with the tools to detect patterns that indicate suspicious or anomalous behavior.
  • Expected staff shortages - as the population ages, state and local governments need to conduct deeper analysis into their human resources needs so service will not be disrupted when employees enter retirement.

In the report, Datamonitor also offers advice to vendors positioning BI to government customers. "Stressing the government-specific benefits of BI, demonstrating commitment to the market and establishing strong references across agencies are important steps for vendors developing their go-to-market strategies," says McCurdy.

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