Gauteng Business News

Send  Share  RSS  Twitter  10 Nov 2011

BUSINESS INTELLIGENCE: BI Can Make Government More Effective


Recent Gauteng Business News

There are many ways in which we could like to make the government more effective. With the census currently still underway in the country, both government and ordinary citizens are looking forward to a more comprehensive view of South Africa’s population. The stated aim of the count is to enable government to plan more effectively for the future, but the data gathered by the census volunteers can be analysed and used in many different ways – and could ultimately change the way the government relates to its citizens.

What will happen with the data and how it will be disseminated, however, has not been clarified. Cynics are predicting that it will end up sitting in a database somewhere, gathering virtual dust. But the more forward-looking are interested in seeing if government makes use of the tools and technologies available to them to help make the running of the country more efficient.

One of these, explains Gerald Naidoo, CEO of Logikal Consulting, is Business intelligence (BI). “BI consists of practices and software that enable the collection, analysis, and presentation of data to support decision making. Where BI in the private sector concerns itself with sales, marketing, and profitability, government BI focuses on mission support, programme performance management, policy, and public welfare,” he explains.

BI Can Make Government More Effective

“We live in an era of the intelligent economy. Organisations across industries are recognising the need for better intelligence about their business: making the right decision with the right information at the right time. Why shouldn’t government make use of the same capabilities‘”

Coming off one of the biggest worldwide economic recessions in history, combined with South Africa’s unique socio-economic circumstances, citizen expectations of government to respond rapidly and effectively to issues are reaching critical levels. Government has been challenged in responding to the multiple demands of economic and social pressures, often letting the citizenry down.

This situation, says Naidoo, can be alleviated through the effective use of BI, which will result in driving down operational costs and facilitating faster, better actionable information that supports and improves service delivery. “I’m not sure that government has realised the power of BI. It facilitates mission performance and procedural compliance, and is essential in effectively carrying out information-centric government operations. It is part and parcel of a well conceived response to special government considerations. Where BI had previously been applied only in the analysis of historical data collected in data warehouses and data marts, operational and embedded BI bring BI functions to the ‘front line,’ to everyday, line-of-business applications.”

Analysing A Key to Make Government More Effective

He adds that operational BI provides monitoring and alerting capabilities, and it may provide the ability to react in real-time, with low analytical latency to current (and not just historical) conditions. “It’s not a question of getting more information, but bringing together and analysing relevant information. And what defines relevance‘ Thekey to relevance is context: identifying the information that is neededfor a specific decision, enabling the discrimination between optimal and suboptimal alternatives.”

This is where statistics like those that will be generated by the census can prove invaluable. And effective use of a BI solution like the one offered by SAP will not only aid government in its decision making, but will enable more citizen-centric access to data. “We are currently witnessing an absence of access to information that BI can provide. Used properly, BI in government can enable a complete turnaround to how much insight ordinary citizens have. For example, we could go on to a website and interrogate the census data according to our particular areas of interest,” Naidoo says.

He adds that a solution like SAS’s is designed to help all levels of government maximise public value, optimise limited resources in public administration and deliver responsive front-office services. “SAS solutions help governments leverage their finite time, money, and personnel resources to fulfill mandated program and service requirements on a timely basis. Where two or more agencies share responsibility for a common outcome, these solutions can integrate information, processes, and technology to support the active collaboration that delivers financial returns, as well as social and political results, to internal and external government stakeholders,” he concludes. This therefore allowing and ensuring to make government more effective.

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