Opinion: Five reasons why BI makes sense for the public sector

By Brian Gentile
24 Jan 2012 View Comments
Brian Gentile

Every day, public sector organisations need to access and make sense of mountains of data, spread across disparate agencies. This has created a greater need for the deployment of business intelligence (BI) systems, to ensure a smooth exchange of information between agencies and facilitate well-informed decisions. Here are my top five reasons why government leaders should embrace BI.

• BI systems deliver rich and diverse functionality.
Modern BI solutions offer rich functionality, ranging from reporting and integrated analysis, through dashboards and mash-ups, to advanced analysis and data integration. These give government bodies insights for improved decision-making in every project area.

Further reading

• BI tools help optimise business processes.
Public spending is tied to political processes, so BI tools can create direct process efficiency gains by helping to identify the portions of any process where time and steps can be reduced or removed, enabling tax savings and reductions in charges. 

• BI improves intra-governmental information flow.
An end-to-end BI suite can support communication within and between government bodies, as well as with the general public. To accomplish this, users need a powerful platform with in-depth reporting and analysis functionality, along with robust security capabilities. Open-source BI tools do this as they can be deployed more effectively than aged, proprietary tools in modern environments such as SaaS, cloud and virtualised deployments, enabling more efficient use and more widespread adoption due to the lower cost.

• BI solutions enable complete transparency.
Governments are accountable to the public, and the public expects complete transparency in political decisions. BI solutions raise the bar for transparency by allowing data to be easily accessed, viewed, managed and even traced back to the source. 

• Open-source BI saves costs and eases integration.
Open-source BI solutions are more cost-efficient than proprietary applications and they are easier to integrate into existing landscapes due to their open architecture and standards. This gives governments the data visibility they need to work efficiently.

Government organisations can gain directly from the primary advantages of open-source software: participation, collaboration and transparency. Choosing open-source software allows tax revenues to be used more judiciously, often saving government organisations up to 80 per cent compared to proprietary software.

Brian Gentile, president and CEO, Jaspersoft

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