NASCIO analytics paper says states are becoming ‘ecosystem of rationale’

The report's author encouraged state chief information officers to continue improving their data governance to support decision making across a broad range of policy areas.
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The National Association of State Chief Information Officers on Wednesday published a paper making a case for state officials to continue improving their use of analytics to guide decisions that affect policies ranging from public health to education. 

The 12-page report follows an annual survey by the group last year showing that CIOs consider data and analytics one of their top priorities. The report, authored by NASCIO’s Eric Sweden, claims that states are basing an increasing number of their decisions on data and that CIOs should therefore improve the data governance of their organizations. 

“We are moving into an ecosystem of rationale, where in some cases we are providing evidence to others to support decisions and evidence-based policies with both data and analytics,” the report states. “Anticipate more requests from staff and citizens such as, ‘show me your data’; ‘show me your analysis of that data’; and ‘show me your conclusions.’”

Sweden identified several trends within states’ use of data, including heightened collaboration and an emphasis on data classification to ensure data is usable. He also pointed to the increased use of analytics that states use to make decisions across a broad swath of operational decisions, including cybersecurity, event analysis and identity management. 


Though analytics are already widely used in government, he encouraged CIOs to be thoughtful and more sophisticated in their efforts.

“Many government organizations think of analytics as data collection and reporting,” the report states. “In reality, much of the current efforts around data and reporting are static, retrospective and dated as soon as they are published. As states move beyond these current efforts, the analytics portfolio expands.”

The report concludes with a catalog of recommendations, including for CIOs to consider citizens first when making decisions about data, focus on “quick wins” on early data projects and partner with their chief data officers. 

Colin Wood

Written by Colin Wood

Colin Wood is the editor in chief of StateScoop and EdScoop. He's reported on government information technology policy for more than a decade, on topics including cybersecurity, IT governance and public safety.

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