The Performance Institute Announces Top Three Trends In Federal Performance Analysis For 2013

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The Performance Institute announced today the top three data trends for 2013 that will be critical to government agencies in the year to come

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Look to 2013 as the year of the Information Land Grab, with companies like Facebook and Instagram claiming individuals’ information

The Performance Institute announced today the top three data trends for 2013 that will be critical to government agencies in the year to come. Jon Desenberg, senior policy director at The Performance Institute, predicts that data will play an integral role in government processes moving forward. Desenberg recently discussed these views on Federal News Radio. Desenberg has more than 20 years of public management and worked with more than 120 federal organizations, non-profit agencies, and universities to increase accountability and performance in government.

Over the last few years, the Obama administration has made a strong commitment to open government—making information about how the government works more accessible to the public. These efforts include federal agencies disclosing more information under the Freedom of Information Act, increased opportunities for public engagement, more information available on government websites and finally, promoting the innovative use of technology across all agencies.

The focus of the current administration has helped federal agencies recognize the importance of collecting data and set the stage for data’s role in the year to come. “In times of real budget constraints, the progress of interpreting data correctly and defining the role the government plays in that will only come as a result of interagency and intergovernmental collaboration,” said Desenberg. The new Federal Land Assistant, Management and Enhancement Act, which requires the departments of Agriculture and Interior to work together and combine metric and accountability tools, is a good example of efforts that are continuing to build momentum.”

With this taken into account, Desenberg predicts the following three trends in data for 2013:

Year of the Data Scientist
The Government Performance Results Modernization Act is leading the way for the U.S. Office of Personnel Management to quickly codify a new performance analyst/data scientist position as a standard new occupation throughout the federal community. Those who excel in forming theories, testing hunches, and finding patterns to predict outcomes will be in high demand. This role will be called upon to go beyond data mining, forming the algorithms behind causation theories and weighing the cost benefits of data collection.

The Land Grab for Personnel Data
Look to 2013 as the year of the Information Land Grab, with companies like Facebook and Instagram claiming individuals’ information, from determining the street they live on and what car they drive to their complete financial and medical histories. At the same time government agencies are slowly trying to secure individuals’ privacy and intellectual property rights, even as cyber security concerns push the government to itself engage in its own surveillance. The power and value of information is driving today’s business models of free mobile applications, social networks, and other virtual communities. Government regulation in this new world and how it will impact the private sector’s need to build business frameworks will be the topic of much debate over the next year. The government will need to define what responsibility it has toward its own data collection and how that responsibility impacts its ability to use and evaluate its results.

Breaking Through the Silos
There are a lot of negatives of the coming year’s federal budget, but one positive trend is the inter-agency integration of measurement, results, and shared accountability previously mentioned. There has been discussion on the subject for years, but only recently has legislation, tight resources, and better data and reporting driven real progress. OMB’s Performance Goals have gained traction and shown success—for example, by bringing together VA and HUD on veterans’ homelessness—and will pick up steam in 2013 as budgets require the end of duplication. While new governance and management practices are required, executive leadership has shown commitment to joint efforts in the new year.

About The Performance Institute: The Performance Institute is a private, non-partisan think tank seeking to improve government, corporate, and non-profit performance through the principles of performance, accountability, engagement, and transparency. Based in the Washington, D.C., area, the Institute serves as the nation's leading authority and repository on performance-based management practices for government. To learn more about our organization, please visit http://www.performanceinstitute.org.

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Kate Zevnik
The Performance Institute
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