Every interaction between citizens and governments generates data. When that data is gathered, analysed, and put to good use by skilled professionals, it can generate amazing outcomes for citizens and the community.
Data can describe the preferences and needs of individual people, enabling agencies to deliver personalised services for citizens in the same way that banks and retailers offer customised experiences for consumers. Those same capabilities can scale up to serve entire communities, allowing for the creation of policies that deliver effective and measured outcomes.
The desire to make better use of data is one of the drivers of digital transformation. Data can provide strong indicators for how to improve people’s experiences, and the ability to quickly measure whether new services truly meet their needs. This combination of data-driven, citizen-centric design and delivery has become the hallmark of effective digital government.
Agencies today hold massive volumes of data which can yield valuable insights, and the availability of advanced algorithms and cloud-based automation and analytics tools means this data can be analysed at speeds which were never possible before, including in real-time.
Advanced data capabilities can yield significant benefits for public sector staff also. Automation of tasks such as data translation and cleansing can free professionals from mundane and repetitive management tasks and allow them to spend more time in high-value roles in face-to-face service delivery or designing good policy. Leaders can redeploy people to where they can add the most value, which improves staff productivity and workplace satisfaction while also lifting outcomes for the people they serve.
Data analytics tools also give staff greater confidence in the decisions they make, as well as the capability to make decisions that have never been possible before.
For example, transport agencies have traditionally used a range of data sources to plan routes and timetables, but modern data analytics tools give them the power to make instant alterations to services in response to demand or disruptions.
Another example is the use of artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML), which can derive specific, targeted insights from text and audio records and reveal critical insights from citizens’ feedback.
Putting data to work for government
How to generate greater value from data has long challenged public sector departments and agencies, many of which do not have the skills, tools, and budgets to leverage the full potential of their data or bring their ambitions into reality.
Many also face the problem of data being stored in different formats across multiple systems, which makes it difficult to compare different data sets to look for relationships and insights.
The specialist human-centric digital transformation services company MTX has extensive experience in developing citizen-centric technology solutions for the public sector. MTX believes all citizens should enjoy the greatest possible benefit from government data, and has developed a data practice and services that help agencies more easily find value in their data.
From data to insights
All MTX engagements begin by considering the true needs of the citizens and mapping these to an agency vision, and then working backwards to create data-driven solutions that deliver the desired outcomes. It then constantly tests outcomes to ensure the delivery of continuous improvement to citizens’ experience and service delivery.
An early step in the process is to conduct a data ‘health check’, where MTX finds all relevant different data assets and examines them to understand factors such as their completeness and accuracy, their level of duplication, and how often records relating to the same event or individual are stored across multiple systems. MTX can then provide an assessment of data health and guidance on how it can be used.
Without healthy data, citizens can have little confidence in the services, policies, and decisions that are based on it.
Knowing what errors can arise and how to correct them is one of MTX’s key capabilities, and the company can also implement processes to ensure data remains ‘healthy’ and is secured and backed-up appropriately.
MTX has also developed a set of processes that enable agencies to quickly extract value from even large volumes of data using cloud-based systems. Whereas traditional analytics methods such as migrating data into data lakes, data marts or data warehouses often proved costly, cumbersome, and only reflected a point-in-time view of data, modern cloud-based methods allow data to be aggregated and analysed using powerful analytics tools, including in real time. These cloud-based analytics systems can effectively be turned off when not in use, presenting a more cost-effective option than the traditional on-premises approach.
Putting data into action
MTX’s data capabilities cover many disciplines and use cases, including Natural Language Processing (NLP). MTX uses NLP to analyse text and speech, such as people’s entries into free text boxes on government websites, to uncover words and statements that point to hidden needs or pain points.
Predictive data capabilities help MTX determine how demand for services might change over weeks or months. Agencies can then use these insights to decide adequate staffing and resources, or to predict when a person might stop using a service.
Packaging these capabilities as tools and services means MTX can bring them to bear quickly for citizens. MTX will also create custom software plug-ins to meet the specific needs of agencies.
Data projects can be brought to life through easy-to-understand dashboards and reports, to show trends and changes and bring clarity to decision making. MTX can also incorporate data into automated workflows using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) tools. One example is MTX’s permits and licences application, which uses data and RPA to accelerate the end-to-end experience.
A key component of MTX’s data capabilities is its use of its hybrid agile project methodology. This incorporates the project scoping and milestone-setting processes commonly used by public sector agencies but achieves outcomes quickly using modern agile project delivery techniques. This means MTX and its clients can quickly test new data ideas and then develop or discard options. This brings accountability and discipline by prioritising outcomes against defined success criteria, while also enabling incremental success to be shown throughout the project’s timeline.
Rapid, citizen-centric data outcomes
As a global organisation, MTX has experience in designing and delivering hundreds of highly secure data-driven applications and outcomes for citizens. Putting the needs of people at the heart of the transformation process brings a fresh approach that ensures the best possible outcome for users, while also delivering benefits for agencies.
MTX’s methods ensure that learnings gathered through one engagement are retained and utilised for future projects, meaning clients benefit from the most up-to-date skills and tools, which have been tested against real-world projects.
For agencies and departments, having a more powerful data capability tied to a clearly articulated vision brings insights into trends and market dynamics, and guidance into potential future activities. This enables them to create better policy and ensures the data that citizens generate each day is put to good use in creating the services and experiences they need.
Find out more about MTX Group and how their team continue to support a human-centric approach to digital transformation and enable better outcomes for Australian government agencies and citizens. Contact MTX: [email protected]