“Through the power of data, public servants can fundamentally transform governments by changing the way they operate, make decisions, and deliver services.”
This statement comes from the Government of Canada’s Data Strategy Roadmap. The Roadmap outlines how data can be used in more effective ways to improve operations and service delivery to Canadians, while also ensuring citizens’ privacy is protected.
This leaves public servants and public sector leaders in a position where they must now think of data as a corporate asset. Although this is not a new concept, for many, it is a challenging one to effectively implement in a practical way.
“Corporate data contains so much potential for providing insights on how to provide better service to Canadians,” said Daryl Senick, BDO Partner and Consulting – National Data and Technology Leader. “But for years, data has not been prioritized as an asset and its full potential has not been realized.”
Data by itself offers little value. What’s important is how that data is managed, analyzed, and correlated to yield actionable insight. In many scenarios the overwhelming volume of data means that artificial intelligence (AI), offers the only effective means to achieve this.
Data and AI go hand in hand
Canada’s Data Strategy Roadmap is as much about the power of AI as it is about data.
“Data and AI are on the leadership agenda,” Senick said. “More leaders are personally attaching themselves to data and AI programs as they understand the potential it can bring.”
But statistics show that 77 per cent of businesses report that “business adoption” of big data and AI initiatives is a substantial challenge. That means three quarters of data and AI programs are not yielding the type of outcomes previously anticipated.
Public sector decision makers can learn from these challenges in the private sector – adoption challenges are well-documented and invariably revolve around issues with data maturity and quality.
“The level of data maturity and quality is critically important in the world of AI,” Senick said. “The old saying of ‘garbage in, garbage out’ applies to the domain of business intelligence, but in the world of AI, it’s ‘garbage in, crazy out.’ The outcomes for an AI model with low maturity and poor-quality data are completely unpredictable.”
The benefits of getting it right
“The benefits of an effective data and AI strategy are far-reaching and profound,” said Carrie Gallo, BDO Partner and National Public Sector Leader. These include:
- Effectively delivering services to Canadians in a digital world
- Predicting the impact of government programs and objectives
- Establishing an advanced understanding of needs of Canadians
“The world of data science and AI has matured to the point of providing the public sector with a new way of correlating data and drawing valuable insights that were difficult to achieve even just a few years ago,” Gallo said.
But first, the organization’s data estate must be in order, with the right management, analytics and predictive models in place.
This is where BDO can help
BDO helps public sector organizations maximize the potential of their data to achieve better service delivery and programming to Canadians. This is done by establishing a comprehensive data strategy, where organizations are able to move forward with the confidence they need to get through the data journey.
BDO helps organizations move from strategy to execution through the use of a “quick win” plan. The plan allows organizations to build momentum, test outcomes and create a level of success for the data journey. With BDO, you can start small, build momentum, and refine quickly through an experimental mindset and by engaging the right people from across your organization.