Data enablement for the common good

By virtue of their sheer size, visibility, and economic clout, national, state or provincial, and local governments are central to any societal transformation effort, in particular a digital transformation. Governments at all levels, which account for 30 to 50 percent of most countries’ GDP, exert profound influence not only by executing their own digital transformations but also by catalyzing digital transformations in other societal sectors

The tremendous impact that digital services have had on governments and society has been the subject of extensive research that has documented the rapid, extensive adoption of public-sector digital services around the globe. We believe that the coming data revolution will be even more deeply transformational and that data enablement will produce a radical shift in the public sector’s quality of service, empowering governments to deliver better constituent service, better policy outcomes, and more-productive operations.

The data revolution enables governments to radically improve quality of service

Government data initiatives are fueling a movement toward evidence-based policy making. Data enablement gives governments the tool they need to be more efficient, effective, and transparent while enabling a significant change in public-policy performance management across the entire spectrum of government activities. As Exhibit 2 shows, data applications can transform operations and service delivery in everything from tax compliance and collections to economic development to healthcare to education—and much more.

To raise quality of service, optimization applications are necessary but not sufficient in themselves. Governments also need to deploy a comprehensive and open performance-management system: data enablement provides a solid fact base for policy making while allowing transparency and public accountability. With this perspective in mind, governments need to launch data initiatives focused on:

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  • better understanding public attitudestoward specific policies and identifying needed changes
  • ƒƒdeveloping and using undisputed KPIs that reveal the drivers of policy performance and allow the assignment of targets to policies during the design phase
  • ƒƒmeasuring what is happening in the field by enabling civil servants, citizens, and business operators to provide fact-based information and feedback
  • evaluating policy performance, reconciling quantitative and qualitative data, and allowing the implementation of a continuous-improvement approach to policy making and execution
  • ƒƒopening data in raw, crunched, and reusable formats.
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