Data + Strategy: Using Data to Inform Agency Strategy
Understanding the types of data available, gaining access to the right data, and making sense of data are daunting tasks for most organizations as they develop a strategy to meet mission demands and enterprise-wide goals. Data is especially challenging for the Government, yet provides the opportunity for insight for leaders as they strategically move their agencies forward.
Legacy information technology systems, siloed organizations, and bureaucratic environments hinder effective use of data. Data analytics and visualization tools won’t matter if the Government does not start with the right data. Mission knowledge and the ability to really understand the questions you are asking of the data are the true differentiators.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) continues to use data to evolve strategies, support real-time decision making, and address homeland security-related threats. For example, the new Center of Excellence (COE) for Homeland Security Quantitative Analysis will research how to effectively apply data techniques and provide education and professional development to DHS employees for improving data management and analysis.
Agencies can optimize their available data to develop ground-breaking strategies to improve mission outcomes using the following approach:
- Inform Strategy with the Right Questions: Leaders must identify questions to address and prioritize their most urgent problem to shape strategy
- Identify Reliable Data Sources: System, database, or otherwise standard-entry data is preferable, but not required. The success of a data collection effort hinges upon the willingness to work with available data to produce meaningful results
- Cleanse and Wrangle Data: Appropriate transformation, cleansing, and repairs of data may include converting to analysis-friendly file formats and structure and scanning for inconsistencies. After applying initial data hygiene, datasets are more cohesive
- Visualize Data for Leaders: Build strong, repeatable processes and implement automation to reduce both the time to decision, and the number of individuals or systems that touch the data. Using tools more geared toward presentation will optimize strategic decision making
- Start Small, Share Stories: Start small on data projects – focus on specific programs or mission areas. Build on these successes to share case studies and best practices to create a culture of data-driven decision making
Agencies are collecting and analyzing more data than ever. By focusing on the key mission questions, agencies can exploit the data to help energize their workforce through data-focused insight. Without a focus on the mission, data projects may fall flat. Strategic data units that help use the data they have to help leaders make strategic, data-driven decisions have the power to transform how quickly the Government can react or change course.
With today’s data management and visualization techniques, agency leaders have a unique opportunity to explore their data more than ever before to set the stage for their strategic plans and priorities.
About Arc Aspicio
Arc Aspicio is a management, strategy, and technology consulting firm that takes a mission-oriented approach to complex client challenges. As a rapidly growing company, Arc Aspicio has a bold strategy for 2016-2018 that drives growth through new capabilities in strategy, design, human capital, data analytics, information sharing, cybersecurity, and strategic communications. The company is known for a strong, collaborative culture that values gratitude – for its clients and its great team. And, #welovedogs! Follow us on Twitter @arcaspicio or learn more at www.arcaspicio.com.