By: Shana Conjurski
In any organization, the concept of reporting is generally an acknowledged practice. You collect data and report out to various functions and leadership groups, and in turn, they track operational performance. So, your teams gather and compile specific business data points… but for what?
Collecting data can be a painstaking task — imagine the data isn’t fully utilized once it’s compiled. Absent any clear data science or analytical framework to support it, that data collection process becomes a fruitless endeavor. And even if the data is “analyzed,” the ability to leverage the analysis on demand and in real time may not be available.
Harnessing the power of data in any organization, particularly in the national security sector and the Department of Defense (DoD), provides innumerable opportunities in today’s digitally complex, fast-moving landscape. The case for an effective data analysis framework is evident when viewing data as an integrator, investment driver and a strategic decision enabler.
Data as an integrator
Within the DoD, many departments and divisions exist across seven service branches. To say there are a lot of moving parts is an understatement. Each of these entities has different priorities and varying strategic and tactical goals. Fragmentation of data in disparate and siloed departments makes it hard to gauge what efforts are successful and aligned with the overarching vision and strategy.
Data analysis, when leveraged correctly, helps break silos and provides overarching data visibility that is impactful, informative and actionable. A good data analysis framework compares apples to apples and provides decision makers reference points proven across the organization. An effective analytics framework can unite an organization to create meaningful value and ensure the investments of departments and divisions are aligned with the overall strategic vision of the organization.
Data as an investment driver
If you want to make informed decisions, you need data. Data enables the decision-making process by providing historical context, trend analyses, and resource and infrastructure utilization while pinpointing areas of opportunity. It also allows leaders to identify current strengths of the organization while highlighting gaps and pitfalls to mitigate and resolve areas of critical risk.
Capital investments in any organization can be a daunting decision — often with major fiscal, personnel and resource implications. A strong data analysis framework provides the guardrails needed to be confident in a decision while ensuring benchmarking capabilities during and after the investment process is complete. As a bonus, the data set you work with and curate during project implementation may be useful internally to your organization as well as externally with stakeholders (see data as an integrator!).
Data as a strategic decision enabler
Viewing data as an investment driver and as a tool for integration brings the value of a scalable analytics framework to its highest value: data, ultimately, can and should be used as a strategic decision enabler.
Here’s a perfect illustration of this concept: say your organization is prioritizing artificial intelligence (AI) but is not able to truly unlock its potential in the marketplace. Suppose the team has been collecting data throughout the process. A robust analytics framework compiles, sorts and packages disparate data sets in a way that highlights the strategic investment adjustments to enhance delivery, utilization and impact. Perhaps financial investment has been targeted in the wrong area, or resources with critical skills in AI development have not been available. Data analysis can help pinpoint implementation shortcomings or weaknesses the team might not have been aware of.
Prioritizing data analysis not only helps formulate strategic goals and milestones, it also provides operational insight and execution feedback to ensure your projects stay the course and finish strong.
Ready to ignite your data analytic program?
Ignite Digital Services excels in helping government groups pull at data threads to enable big-picture, strategic decision making. We mine internal data and, with the help of partner organizations like decision science company Govini, we apply our deep industry expertise and leverage technology to build analytic platforms that unlock success.
Shana Conjurski is the Science and Technology Market Lead for Ignite Digital Services heading data and digital solution implementation on behalf of national security clients.