Quote of the week
“(T)he usual sources of talent – elite universities and MBA programs – are falling short…”
The big issue on the table now is big data and analytics, with questions that should concern governments: do they have the capacity and understanding of this issue to take advantage of it? And how will they manage the privacy issue?
A bunch of CEOs were brought together to talk about big data and analytics, and noted that the challenge is to figure out how data and analytics can be used to improve performance. The two areas of interest to them were internal applications and consumer (or in government’s case) citizen service. In the first case, models can be used to increase efficiencies; in the second, they can help create tactics to improve citizen satisfaction.
One of the issues they face is that there is a lack of talent within their organizations to manage and analyze this data. In government, the IT folks in theory are in charge of information management but have focused on technological tools. The IM folks have been relegated to the back seat. In short, as Cheryl McKinnon noted in our February edition, we are using essentially analogue approaches to deal with digital age data.
The CEOs say they need to find people who are “translators.” They must be able to bridge the disciplines of IT and data, analysis and operational decision-making. These translators can “drive the design and execution of the overall data-analytics strategy while linking IT, analytics, and business-unit teams. Without such employees, the impact of new data strategies, tools, and methodologies, no matter how advanced, is disappointing.”
On top of that, the CEOs noted that universities are not turning out people who have the right mix of skills.
On the privacy front, the CEOs admitted that citizens have legitimate privacy concerns, and argued that they need to reminded that data can provide great value, such as improving health outcomes. Trust needs to be built, they argued, and more control of information needs to be put in the hands of consumers.
These comments should be of interest to governments. For while they are committing to make data more open, they still need to make sure they have the capacity to take advantage of it themselves while protecting privacy and building trust.