The Strategic Trend Government Needs

March 10, 2020 by Melissa Crowe

The Strategic Trend Government Needs

Photo credit: Wonderlane/Flickr

Imagine a world where every employee at city hall can search, access, and share the data they need to support the organization’s goals.

You’re probably wondering where all these data scientists came from and how this city can afford to hire them all.

While there will always been a need for discipline experts in data analytics, cities, counties, and states recognize that they need to expand the use of data across their organizations to build stronger, more resilient communities. That means everyone, from discipline experts to non-technical users, is able to search, access, and analyze the data they need to support the organization’s goals.

As more and more governments strategize ways to ramp up their capacity for data analysis, there’s an emerging trend making it possible: the democratization of technology.

This concept focuses on four key areas — application development, data and analytics, design, and knowledge — and it’s No. 3 among Gartner Inc.’s 10 strategic trends for 2020.

“Democratization of technology means providing people with easy access to technical or business expertise without extensive, and costly, training,” according to Gartner.

This concept can ease the burden of overwhelmed public employees by making data analysis faster, cheaper, and easier to conduct.

In “Three Pillars of Data-Driven Government,” we see how effective data programs can boost service delivery, save employee time, and bring big wins for government leaders. But, there's more to establishing a sustainable — and scalable — data program than just conducting inventories and adopting policies.

“Governments have an excess of data, but the real challenge is in harnessing their oftentimes piecemeal IT systems and breaking down data silos,” according to the paper. “These systems are full of fractured data with disparate applications that don’t work beyond one department’s needs or for the public receiving services.”

One component of democratizing technology relies on having the tools to break down silos hindering access to data. With a turnkey data platform, organizations can stand up data programs faster, with less technical expertise, and can focus on applying the technology to improve service delivery, identify efficiencies, and improve the overall health of the community.

When we look at the skills of today’s workforce, we recognize they’re shifting faster than ever before. The skills of yesterday are losing relevancy, today’s skills are changing and developing, and tomorrow’s skills are emerging. As public officials grapple with the challenge of doing more with less, the ability to leverage data in smarter ways is only growing in need.

To be successful, they need a framework to ease the burden on their teams, giving them the capacity to focus on high-value, complex, and engaging work.

Chris McMasters, CIO for the city of Corona, Calif., puts it plainly: “I hire people because they have big brains; I need them for their brains, not punching holes or stapling papers.”

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