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GAB Forum: First Annual Government Analytics Survey

At this month's GAB forum, Jennifer Bachner (JHU) and Jeff Myers (REI Systems) presented the results from the first annual Government Analytics Survey.  The survey yielded several key findings:

  1. Analytics are important to government agencies.  82% of respondents say analytics were "dominant," "of significant importance," or "equal to other factors" in the three most significant decisions made by their agency.

  2. When government analytics focus on money, they have less impact on strategy.  Analytics focused on justifying budgets and reducing costs correlate with a smaller perceived impact of analytics on the most significant agency decisions (0.5 points of a 1-5 scale).

  3. People spend the most time gathering data (23%), vs. analyzing (8%), communicating (14%) or acting on it (10%).  Streamlining and automating data collection should be a priorty for government agencies.

  4. AI is getting a lot of talk, but not much action.  Respondents think machine learning (26%) and AI (25%) hold the most promise for improving government, but very few respondents (less than 4%) work with AI right now.

  5. Staffing is the biggest hurdle.  Attracting/retaining staff was named the biggest challenge; and more than 50% of respondents indicate that their agency plans to develop or recruit staff with a certification in the field of analytics. 
A panel of experts offered their reactions to the findings.  The panel included:
  • Michael Conlin (Chief Data Officer, DoD)
  • Dr. Collin Paschall (new faculty member, JHU Government Analytics program)
  • Pat Hu (Director, Bureau of Transportation Statistics)
  • William Beach (Commissioner, Bureau of Labor Statistics)
Read more about the panel's thoughts in Federal News Network's coverage of the forum, "'How do we do better?' Chief data officers see hiring challenges persist."

A recording of this event (and the slide presentation) can be seen here
Please join us at our next event on November 13 which will feature TSA Deputy Administrator Patty Cogswell.  Check the Government Analytics website for more details and registration information in the coming weeks.

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