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Goal 2: Reduce waste and deliver savings

This section explores the problem statement: Government is forgoing significant savings due to poor use and management of data with 3 responses and actions.

Problem: Government is forgoing significant savings due to poor use and management of data

All VPS agencies face the challenge of delivering on big commitments amid fiscal constraints. Data and analytics can significantly assist with identification of waste and savings opportunities.

Agencies are making data-driven savings interventions, which can and should be replicated across government. But our ability to do so will be hampered unless the VPS manages data as a valuable asset.

This requires better ‘data governance’— the exercise of decision making and authority for data-related matters. These are the executive-level, strategic decisions to identify priorities and guide investment. Numerous reports and inquiries have found public sector agencies do this poorly. This strategy proposes responses to improve data governance across the VPS.

The strategy also targets waste and duplication around VPS deployment of data-focused tech solutions. It will enable VPS agencies to start faster, deliver higher quality solutions, and save time and money.

Response 1: Target data-driven savings and efficiencies

Data-driven efficiencies can be found in almost all areas of government. Revenue management, procurement activities, asset management and business process optimisation are all fertile ground for savings.

Such approaches can also be used to improve operational efficiency. By automating rudimentary, repetitive tasks and using data to understand process blockers, VPS agencies can free up highly skilled staff to focus on more valuable work.

VCDI supports and looks to scale effective interventions across the VPS, wherever opportunity presents.

Actions

A Map major data and analytics-driven saving opportunities across the VPS.

B Partner with VPS agencies to develop the models and approaches to realise the savings.

C Make the models and approaches available for use by other VPS agencies.

D Support the development of relevant communities of interest across the VPS (e.g. fraud detection, asset management, demand forecasting).

Response 2: Govern our data to maximise value and remove waste

When implemented in a strategic way, a strong set of decision rights and accountabilities enables an organisation to make efficient, informed choices about its data assets.

There are some barriers to achieving this. The Victorian Auditor-General has labelled the VPS information and data management environment “fragmented and confused”. (Source: Victorian Auditor-General’s Report, 2015, Access to Public Sector Information.)

The current complexity contributes to a culture of delegating decisions to process and technical experts. This separates organisational investment decisions and data governance activities in ways that prevent value being derived from data assets.

This strategy responds by drawing on leading practices for accountability-based data governance. Contemporary thinking emphasises non-invasive and iterative implementation. This includes:

· Designing pilot initiatives to learn more about which approaches are most effective in each context.

· Investing in high-impact activities to educate executives about what can be achieved.

· Using champions and existing networks rather than enforcing rigid pre-defined processes at operational level.

Actions

  • Develop template documents for leading-practice data governance.
  • Pilot a data governance coaching service with a VPS agency that has secured strong executive support.
  • Refine the data governance approach and replicate in other VPS agencies.

Response 3: Reduce the cost and delay of implementing technology solutions

Data and analytics challenges typically require a common range of technology architectures and components. Currently, each department (or even project) designs its own bespoke approaches or pays external consultants to do so. This is followed by unnecessarily lengthy and expensive procurement and implementation cycles. The variable quality of these solutions means they often fail to respond adequately to business needs.

This strategy seeks to overcome the waste, delay and suboptimal outcomes of the current approach. Working with central agency ICT and coordination functions, VCDI will help VPS agencies deliver quality solutions faster and cheaper.

VPS agencies will be able to access patterns and advice to introduce responsive technology solutions. VCDI will collaborate with analytics leaders within VPS agencies to ensure their specific context and challenges are met.

Actions

A Enable cross-VPS collaboration to collect and share knowledge about best practices.

B Refine and publish existing reference architectures for data and analytics platforms, to provide common patterns that can be implemented on preferred cloud platforms or on-premise data centres.

C Build a central instance of the design patterns, that VPS agencies can leverage as a ‘fast start’ service.

D Establish technical advisory services to help agencies introduce their own environments faster and for less cost, reusing common configurations.

Reviewed 13 February 2020

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