Business Intelligence Really Is A Smart Idea

Data Drives DecisionsAs Chief Information Officer for GSA, I must ensure our technology works for our workforce. That means for every one of our IT products and services, we need to be able to answer “Yes” to the following questions:

Does this capability help GSA work more effectively?

Does this approach represent the most cost-efficient use of the American taxpayers’ money?

We have been working hard to transform the IT environment at GSA and provide more agile, modern and effective solutions. But increasing GSA’s effectiveness is only one part of the equation. We need to pay attention to the second question: Are we delivering services in the most cost-efficient manner? That question can be difficult to answer, but we are improving our ability to define success. Cutting-edge business intelligence tools and processes are paving our way.

Business Intelligence, or BI, leverages data from within an organization to make decisions, capture trends, and measure the effectiveness of business processes, activities and operations. We’re using BI to measure the performance of the “IT Insider,” which is our internal communications program that lets all of GSA know about new programs, products, updates and enhancements.

One of our major goals is to increase the ability of GSA users to get IT answers and solve problems for themselves. For example, rather than calling our IT Service Desk for something relatively simple like resetting a password, GSA’ers can turn to the IT Insider for easy tips on resetting their password. This leaves the IT Service Desk to work with employees dealing with more complex issues. The performance measure for this effort is called Service Category Turnover, and we track our improvement on this measure using BI.

At the IT Service Desk we track the kinds of calls and questions that GSA users ask us. We know the Top 10 question types, and we know how these top 10 change over time (i.e., Service Category Turnover) The BI program–in this case, Google Analytics–tells us if the top 10 ticket requests are for newer services and more difficult projects. If so, our communications outreach is working as we intended. If not, we know exactly where to focus our education and informational messages.

Giving our users a variety of channels to get help, and using our talented IT Service Desk technicians for the tough questions, ensures that we’re using our resources cost-efficiently. GSA’s workforce is empowered to address routine IT issues themselves, using online tools like the IT Insider self help portal, chat-based assistance, and weekly email newsletter. Those online tools and resources are a core part of our strategic communications program.

BI is just one way we’re utilizing the tools flowing from the latest technology we’ve implemented here at GSA to make the workplace — wherever that is — more efficient and effective.