The Data Driven Policy… Where to from here?
Data driven policy has long been seen as a holy grail for both technologists and policymakers. However, a number of high-profile project failures have only underlined how frustratingly difficult this objective has been to achieve. Recent Omdia research now indicates a much more positive picture is emerging from within government departments and agencies.
“There is clear momentum for change”, reported Kevin Noonan, Emeritus Chief Analyst at Omdia. “This work has been happening in small but purposeful steps, rather than through the big projects that tend to grab media attention”.
The COVID period has put a lot more focus on data. The community has become more accustomed to a daily diet of graphs, charts and data insights. However, the COVID lockdowns have also made it more difficult for government agencies to compare their data progress and share ideas.
The more successful data strategies have been carefully laying the groundwork through deeper policy engagement, improved governance and oversight, tighter security and privacy, and by purchasing data tools that are fit-for-purpose. Omdia research has found there is no shortage of data software, but many agencies do not have the right software. It is time to retire some of the outdated software and look at data tools that are a better fit for government policy and service delivery.
Analytics has often been seen as a back-room activity, disconnected from the pragmatics of policy development and program implementation. Traditionally, data tools have been used for reporting progress rather than delivering new insights. Data specialists have at times been relegated to doing data analysis to confirm a policy position, rather than adding real value to the policy development process. It is now time to reassess the pragmatics of data driven policy.