Governments today face increasing pressure for transparency and accountability. Citizens want to know exactly how their taxes are being spent and what the government is doing to create value for the community. Information management (IM) can help governments improve their decision-making and operating efficiency. It can also help them deliver the accurate, in-depth insights that today’s citizens demand.
One of the largest states in the nation wanted to use information more effectively. But like most large organizations, the state’s operations revolved around a wide variety of transaction systems. These applications were primarily designed for processing, not to deliver management insight. Data was locked up in isolated silos and was often redundant or incompatible. Major problems included:
- Multiple versions of the “truth.” Different systems produced different answers to the same question. It was hard to tell which was right.
- Lack of transparency. A transaction-oriented IT infrastructure prevented the state from providing citizens and policy-makers with information that was accurate, timely and insightful. In addition, silos and bureaucratic red tape made it difficult to aggregate information across agencies to provide a statewide view.
- Inadequate performance measures. Like many governments, the state lacked clear performance measures and accountability, making it hard to assess service quality and efficiency – and undermining the organization’s efforts to improve.
- One-size-fits-all approach to tax collection. Some delinquent accounts involve significant dollars and require an intensive collection effort. Others involve smaller amounts of money, or are likely to be paid with little or no effort. Unfortunately, when deciding how to allocate the state’s limited collection budget, it was not always easy to tell which was which.
How We Helped
Effective information management requires an enterprise-wide approach. Yet it is often difficult or impractical to tackle everything at once. An effective way is to start with an enterprise-wide vision, but to implement the vision by focusing on a handful of high-impact areas that can deliver immediate benefits and help build momentum.
In this case, Deloitte helped the state implement a business intelligence solution involving six key areas:
- Expenditures Web site: Provides up-to-the-minute information on state agency expenditures. Taxpayers can see how much each agency is spending, exactly when they are spending it and who is receiving the money.
- Executive dashboard: Provides a fully automated and up-to-date summary of key performance indicators across all state agencies. This enables leaders and managers to make better decisions and to quickly identify and act on problems before they become crises. It also sharply reduces the amount of time spent on manually collecting, analyzing and reconciling data from multiple systems.
- Economic development Web site: Provides instant access to a wide range of economic development information, including data about the state’s population, demographics, economy, employment and taxes. This helps policymakers develop short-term and long-term plans for growth, infrastructure development, education, disaster recovery and taxation. It also attracts new business to the state and helps companies identify the right location for their operations.
- Statewide financial reporting system: Allows authorized employees to view enterprise financial data, including payroll and general ledger information. This web-based query and reporting system was created using a new, state-of-the-art business intelligence tool that is both highly convenient and highly secure.
- Revenue collection scorecard: Helps the state track collection activity through 65 key metrics and performance indicators. Managers can create custom queries and graphical reports that provide near real-time performance data so they can quickly see where standards are not being met – and adjust their actions accordingly. They can also access from high level summaries to pinpoint individual cases that need immediate attention.
- Enforcement scoring and ranking: Assigns a “risk score” to each delinquent account so the state can focus more effort on high-risk, high-value accounts – improving the return on its revenue collection investments.
The state also developed an enterprise-wide roadmap that outlines and prioritizes IM-related activities across all agencies. The roadmap includes plans to expand the six initial IM solutions into a fully integrated data warehouse for all core processes.
Improved information management can provide the insights necessary to support improved decision-making and long-term planning. It can also boost service quality and efficiency, enabling the government to serve the public more effectively. Citizens, employees and policy-makers now have a wealth of information at their fingertips. Through custom queries and reports, they can quickly zero in on the data they need, without resorting to manual processing and analysis – or getting bounced around from one agency to the next. This ground-breaking effort has taken government transparency to a new level and has been widely recognized as a standard for other states to follow.