Hard to believe we are marking the passing of another calendar year. In my role here at Alteryx, I get the privilege of seeing some of the fantastic work analytic leaders in the Public Sector are doing with data to accelerate mission outcomes for their agencies and, more importantly, for the people and communities they serve.
A big theme here at Alteryx in 2022 was the need to democratize the approach toward analytics.
In other words, organizations need to evaluate not only their core analytic maturity as an organization but also how they are making analytics more of a team sport. Are their analytic capabilities built to upskill their existing resources, and do they remove the technical barriers to advanced analytics for all data workers regardless of their technical acumen? This was a topic I covered in a January 2022 blog post, “What Does the Democratization of Analytics Look Like for Government?”
This direction towards democratizing analytics, leveraging analytics automation, and making analytics for all a reality within the Public Sector will continue in 2023 and beyond as more and more organizations realize they need to better leverage the very capable resources they have on hand, who possess the deep domain expertise needed to tackle critical challenges but are swamped in the tedium of manual, repetitive tasks just to get data ready for analysis.
One of the focus areas where the progress in analytics automation will need to continue is government operations related to finance, revenue, and audit. For most government organizations, these financially related operations are vast in the sheer amount of transactions and accompanying data that must be analyzed. At Alteryx in 2022, we worked with a number of customers both within the public and private sectors to add speed to their analytics through automation.
My blog “Accelerating Insights: McLaren Formula 1 Racing and Federal OIG Audits” highlighted how analytics automation accelerates the speed of insights in some very complicated and fast-paced environments.
If 2020 and 2021 were the years of COVID response, 2022 marked a year where government agencies of all types tried to return to some semblance of normal. In the Medicaid space, this process is called “unwinding,” but almost every function in government has endeavored to return to regular operations. In part of the run-up to enabling Covid response, many core government systems related to public health, social services, unemployment, and economic recovery took a policy of providing coverage and support first and verify later. Beginning in 2022 and I think going into 2023, the verification process is going to become more center stage as government agencies deal with unprecedented levels of fraud that percolated through many government programs designed to deliver support during Covid.
In my blog post “Automating Analytics to Fight Government Fraud,” I highlighted how some agencies use analytics to fight the “fraud of a generation.”
And while much focus has been and will continue to be on identifying and fighting fraud after the fact, there are some government organizations like the State of Ohio that are building analytic capacity to improve business processes to better identify fraud before it occurs. A blog on data.ohio.gov describes how analytics automation through Alteryx matured the state’s dashboarding and predictive capability. This increased analytic maturity enabled the state agency responsible for the delivery of unemployment insurance to better predict fraudulent claims based on IP addresses, bank accounts, and similar emails.
What I am seeing for 2023 and beyond is that state, county, and local agencies will need to be equipped to provide better transparency on how large federally funded program dollars are dispersed and tracked. We are seeing some of these requirements being carried into elements of the national infrastructure funding program with the call for the appointment of state, city, and even county-level infrastructure czars. Beyond just making sure they keep track of how the funding flowing to states, cities, and counties is properly accounted for, many of these infrastructure czars, like Matthew Garberk, the infrastructure lead for the City of Baltimore, is focused on turning this funding into projects that will make a difference in people lives.
In my view, the allocation of infrastructure funding for the greatest beneficial impact will be a significant focus for these appointed infrastructure czars. To achieve this, they will require the building of greater analytics capacity enabling them to model and predict outcomes based on multiple factors.
In 2022 we also saw the US federal government take concrete action to address the impact of government operations on climate change with the implementation of an executive order to have federal government agencies begin a transition to Zero Emission Vehicles (ZEV), with a goal of replacing all light duty, non-specialized vehicles with ZEVs by 2027. Agencies like the FAA are already taking steps to upskill their fleet management capabilities using the data agility and geospatial capabilities of Alteryx to accelerate their progress toward meeting the ZEV milestone within their national fleet of 4500+ vehicles.
The ZEV mandate is a clear example of the government’s important role in leading by example when it comes to managing the operational and regulatory business challenges around Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) principles, implementation, and measurements. In the private sector, we have seen a substantial uptick in organizations taking significant steps to document, measure, and report on their organizational progress on at least some operations impacting their ESG position.
A report from Gartner indicates that 99% of the S&P 500 have issued at least one ESG-related report. Most of the reports are related to diversity, equity, and inclusion and / or carbon emissions, but as shareholder and regulatory expectations increase, a more detailed measurement and reporting capacity based on analytics and transparency will be required. The same expectations towards public reporting on ESG that are being applied to the private sector will also be expected of the public sector.
In addition to our own ESG reporting capability, we have been actively supporting nonprofits, clients, and partners to increase their analytic capability to meet their missions around building a more sustainable future for all of us. The progress of building ESG capabilities from an analytic perspective, both within the private and public sectors, is something I am looking forward to in 2023.
Something else I am looking forward to is seeing the tremendous new stories coming from our clients that will be highlighted at Alteryx Inspire in May of 2023. Registration is now open.