Greater analytics training needed for federal managers

Business intelligence is now a critical focus for virtually every federal agency. The government collects an ever-increasing amount of raw data, and only by applying advanced BI and analytics to these resources can agencies gain the insight necessary to improve performance and efficiency.

However, a lack of expertise is holding back these efforts, NextGov reported. Specifically, the source reported that federal managers require better training in order to fully take advantage of analytics solutions.

Training for insight
Speaking to the news source, Steve Goodrich, vice chairman of the Government Transformation Initiative, noted that federal agencies have significantly improved their data collection and utilization efforts in recent years. However, he also argued that there is a great deal of room for improvement, and that training should play a key role in this capacity.

"Education and training programs need to adapt," said Goodrich, NextGov reported.

Goodrich explained that effective analytics efforts demand knowledgeable leaders who understand the technology and how best to apply it to vast amounts of data. As of now, many agencies lack such leaders, but improved training could correct this situation.

More data incoming
The source noted that the need for analytics-savvy federal managers is about to become even more pronounced thanks to the passage of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act. Signed into law on May 9, the DATA Act will exponentially increase the amount of data created by and available to federal agencies. The purpose of the legislation is to improve insight into federal spending, but it also has the potential to yield robust insight in a variety of areas. However, such results are dependent on high-quality analytics and data management efforts.

This notion is particularly important for the Defense Department. As Goodrich told the news source, the DOD completes approximately 9,000 procurement transactions each month. With the implementation of the DATA Act, the department will inevitably collect a huge amount of data from these transactions, all of which will need to be standardized. As Goodrich explained, this standardization makes the information far more usable. However, for analytics to be effectively applied to such assets, leaders must be well-trained in these efforts.

Assistance needed
The lack of BI and analytics expertise among federal managers, combined with the major influx of data that is likely in the coming years, suggests that agencies should consider increasing their partnerships with third-party IT service providers. By working with these organizations, agencies can outsource a significant portion of their data management needs, thereby improving the value gained from their available data resources.

Additionally, third-party firms can help agencies as they take steps to update the ways that they manage and oversee data. The Defense Department, for example, recently announced that it is considering major changes to its data sharing strategies among its components, FedTech Magazine reported. Such complex efforts demand the assistance of experienced, dedicated partners to minimize the risk of data loss or other missteps.