• September 6, 2017

    Governments have extensive resources at their disposal that they must allocate effectively. Every resource is finite, from police patrols and educational funds, to road maintenance crews. Data and analytics are needed in order to best allocate these resources, and WSI’s Program Data Collection & Analytics solutions is the method. WSI’s software involves using modern web and mobile technologies to execute a government program while supplying analytics to track and improve it.

    Technology continues to improve the processes of allocating resources and acquiring services. Sure, you can step onto the curb and raise your arm to hail a taxi, but the superior efficiency of ride-hailing apps is undeniable. The rating system also seems to have improved service delivery. I’ve been in many smelly, erratically-driven taxis, but that experience has never been duplicated in an Uber.

    This transparency and efficiency is increasingly expected of government services as well. Here are some of the top program delivery and performance tools that program officers and technical directors need to achieve that goal.

    Prioritizing Focus by Surveying Constituents

    Capturing constituent feedback, setting goals, and measuring progress towards those goals requires the acquisition of data to analyze – the right data. When launching a program or improving an existing program, a government entity must take an outside-in perspective to prioritize focus.

    Collecting and analyzing data with performance management technology is becoming increasingly prevalent at all levels of government. For example, many county and city governments are looking to digitize the processes of issuing licenses, such as liquor license and building permits.

    The Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University, a partner in the What Works Cities initiative, has created a getting started guide to assist cities in implementing performance management programs. Concrete examples of program issues to analyze and improve include:

    • Is it easy for constituents to learn about the program?
    • What is the level of ease-of-use when apply for a program benefit or service?
    • What is the turnaround time for reviewing applications?
    • What is the total time required to fulfill a grant or service?
    • Are constituents succeeding with the program’s assistance?
    • What is the level of satisfaction regarding varying aspects of the program?

    Program-Focused Data Collection Software

    Enterprise-class software and customization services are necessary to deploy intuitive online forms, surveys, and applications for citizens. Supporting services include requirements gathering, hosting, operational support, system monitoring, security, and helpdesk services.

    Each individual step is important to the overall success of the program, and needs the management of skilled personnel. Best practices in leveraging data collection efforts include:

    • Identify the necessary data for analysis
    • Gather the right data, but no more than necessary, so participants won’t be overwhelmed and less likely to participate
    • Design the data collection application to be intuitive and easy to use
    • Determine how restrictive to make web forms and online applications (check boxes, radio buttons, free-form text boxes, etc.)
    • Avoid mistakes that will land you on the Bad Web Design Subreddit

    Accountability and Culture

    Finally, a government entity must also work to build an organizational culture that values the use of data, as well as accountability and transparency. The best-designed tools are worthless if people don’t use them, to collect and analyze data, and then subsequently use the results to drive future decision-making.

    Contact us to discuss how WSI can assist you in providing reliable and innovative program performance and analytics software and services.