South Africa has faced many political and governmental shifts over the last year. David Bolton, Qlik’s Director: Global Market Development; Public Sector & Healthcare, believes that despite possible turmoil, data management offers many opportunities to drive efficiency in government. Government organisations hold huge volumes of data which must be analysed to ensure effective financial management, operational integrity, driving public services, and improving staff management.
The question remains, how can government maintain the quality of its services to a growing population?
How Data Drives Efficiency: Two Urgent Areas of Excellence
- Spend analytics and procurement analysis
- The delivery of social care (education, housing, supporting people that need government support at the right time)
Typical Datasets Found in the Public Sector
- Finance systems that control budgets, spend, and performance around finance;
- Operational systems, that manage resource availability, how money is spent, and the flow of resources to the public; and
- Staffing (an area of massive cost and potential improvements).
The question now becomes, how do these organisations connect the insights from these datasets together?
Reporting and Connection
Without reliable analysis, all this information is virtually useless. Data analysis and effective reporting is crucial. Reporting on financial performance, procurement, staffing, costs, and operational performance is vital – but what’s often missing is the ability to connect these elements together. Rather than having a siloed report from each system, it is essential to see the whole story across the entire governmental organisation. Without that insight, it’s very hard to know how to make improvements, how affecting one area might impact the performance of another.
Using Data to Transform African Government
Transformation in government is a critical path that is needed in most regions, including Africa. Whether it’s to improve efficiency in the spending of public money, to improve the quality of services that are available to the general public, or to find new ways of delivering services that perhaps haven’t even been considered, real time information is needed. Transformation can only take place with a real understanding of what’s happened in the past, the opportunities that exist for the future, and the financial and service impact of decisions that are made.
Transforming the Global Public Sector with Open Data
The concept of open data, where government organisations share their data more openly, offers great opportunities. It empowers the understanding of how government services improve by really knowing what’s going on at any point in time.
Open data allows an in-depth insight with respect to:
- More than one service area
- Performance within education/social care/housing/healthcare
- Varying data to identify correlations and increase impact
All these elements are connected when a wider population view is taken. Globally, trends and patterns between different regions can be identified. Where there are similar social determinants and similar population types, insights can be drawn much faster, improving quality within each region.
When governments around the world share and combine learnings to improve the quality of service delivery, improvements in global efficiencies can be achieved.