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Salesforce Wave Analytics cloud was recently granted FedRAMP authority to operate, making it the first cloud-based business intelligence (BI) solution to be compliant with such rigorous demands.

To carry that win into our new FY, we kicked off a whole campaign about what this means to government agencies that are looking for easier ways to make data-driven decisions in order to improve government services.

While developing this campaign, we noted four common data trends.  You can read more about the details in our infographic

1.  Approximately half of your critical data is being analyzed

Our own State of Analytics report found that across industries, leaders are struggling to make sense of all the data available today. It estimated that 53% of data is left unanalyzed by organizations. 45% are unable to analyze data across disparate sources, and 42% do not feel they cannot drill into enough detail to gather actionable insights.

Overall, 53% of respondents feel that too much data is left unanalyzed--data that represents an opportunity for decision makers, as well as their front-line staff, to recognize patterns, develop a new perspective, quickly take action, and build a more responsive government. Data is the new currency for government, and too many organizations are leaving a sizable amount of powerful bargaining chips on the table.

2.  Effects of today’s data are compounded

There is an explosion in the amount of data created by government activities, thanks to more devices coming online that extend both services and insight; the Census Bureau recently decided to test smartphones as the intake mechanism for enumerators for the 2020 census. Plug-n-play devices, such as Automatic’s car adapter, offer detailed, daily diagnostics about vehicle performance including gasoline consumption, maintenance patterns, and more.

However, as each new device or service comes online, it introduces more siloed data that must be harvested in order to improve the government service itself. Gartner estimates that there will be 6.4 connected “things” in use by the end of 2016, and that this number will increase to over 20 billion by the year 2020, simultaneously increasing data fragmentation and data volume. 

This means that government leaders need a BI solution that is capable of supporting current mission systems, such as case management, tracking systems and other program-related systems;multi-channel data options. They need a Bi solution capable of analyzing large data volumes coming from new devices, traditional processes, and any application in between, in order to understand catalysts behind the mission in our more connected world. Imagine the potential benefits that could come from knowing how much gasoline each government vehicle uses on average, predicting maintenance patterns, and more.

The investments government makes today need to take this compounded data growth into consideration.

3.  Data is an artistic medium

There is a concept in fine art called negative space--the blank area that surrounds the subject of the piece, used to balance out the work and make for a more interesting composition overall. Artists use this to as a tool to draw the eye’s attention to a particular detail, and focus the memory on a specific experience.   

With today’s more mobile, more social, more connected world, people share data about an engagement that lives in this negative space: the amount of time someone is or isn’t willing to wait for a taxi, the most frequently traveled routes--as well as the most unfrequently traveled routes--through a city, government buildings that get serviced the least, etc.

Whether you’re a local government body focused directly on citizens, or a federal agency with a stronger department perspective, data is everywhere these days. The best artists are the ones who paint a picture using data sets comprehensively in order to better understand context, as well as pinpoint exactly what the users at the heart of the mission find most interesting. Today’s expanding world of data is truly a form of art.

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Starting to notice these 4 realities across your own mission efforts?

We have some great ways for you to learn more, and delve into next steps that turn data trends into opportunity:

  1. Explore our infographic that breaks down today’s data-rich trend

  2. Join us at the Salesforce World Tour in D.C. on Thursday, April 28th. This free event will cover modern analytics in depth, host industry thought leaders trailblazing the BI space, and more.

  3. Visit our Salesforce Executive Dashboard page to learn more about the industry drivers, and opportunities surrounding modern government analytics.

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4.  Internal data is just as important as external data

It’s not just external data sources that are critical to today’s comprehensive mission picture. Internal data sources can be just as valuable. Employees house all kinds of data about a mission: those at the front line tend to see firsthand which programs or services are working, and which ones are not. Organizations that collect this information, through efforts like employee surveys, case management stats, etc., can prioritize programs with a data-driven, bottoms up approach, removing the disconnect that sometimes occurs between field office and HQ locations.

Employee satisfaction is also valuable mission data.  In their 2015 Global Human Capital Trends Report, Deloitte found that “...more than twice as many employees are motivated by work passion than career ambition,” and highlighted that organizations with a conscious focus on culture and employee engagement “...can hire more easily, deliver stronger customer service, have the lowest voluntary turnover rates, and be more profitable over the long run.” (Deloitte)

Pair this with findings in their 2016 report: “Businesses have recognized they need data to figure out what makes people join, perform well in, and stay with an organization; who will likely be successful; who will make the best leaders; and what is required to deliver the highest quality customer service and innovation. All of this can be directly informed by people analytics.” (Deloitte)

The take away: the degree of visibility employees have to the mission success resulting from their contributions has a direct impact on service quality and delivery, long-term. Mission success starts with employee success, and modern business analytics tools give government organizations the opportunity to measure, attract, and retain the talent that solidifies the experience.

Starting to notice these 4 realities across your own mission efforts?

We have some great ways for you to learn more, and delve into next steps that turn data trends into opportunity:

  1. Explore our infographic that breaks down today’s data-rich trend

  2. Join us at the Salesforce World Tour in D.C. on Thursday, April 28th. This free event will cover modern analytics in depth, host industry thought leaders trailblazing the BI space, and more.

  3. Visit our Salesforce Executive Dashboard page to learn more about the industry drivers, and opportunities surrounding modern government analytics.

About the Author

John DeVoe is the Area Vice President for Wave Analytics product sales for the North America Public Sector organization. John joined salesforce.com in 2007 to help establish the US federal, state and local government practice.  He has held several leadership roles at salesforce, delivering innovative solutions across government.  John has over 20 years of experience working for and with the federal government.