All You Need is Love! (Well, That and Some Software)
That’s right, Valentine’s Day is upon us, the day that symbolizes the power of love and has the ability to strengthen relationships between people. I’ve personally experienced 53 Valentine’s Days so I believe I speak with no small measure of authority on the topic of how to make the best of it. Here are my top five suggestions for having a great day:
- Know everything you can about the people you have relationships with
- Quality matters
- ALL your relationships matter
- Uncover your hidden or anonymous relationships
- Treat your relationships with respect all year long
OK, I admit, this is not the most romantic list ever and might get you in more trouble with your significant other than actually forgetting Valentine’s Day altogether! But, what did you expect? I work for a software company, not eHarmony! 🙂
Right. Software. Let’s put this list into the context of government agencies.
- Know everything – If your agency’s mission involves delivering services to citizens, likely, you have multiple “systems of record”, each with a supposed accurate record of all the people being tracked by each system. In reality though, it’s rare that the data about individuals is consistently accurate and complete from system to system. The ability to centralize all the data about individuals into a single, authoritative “record” is key to improving service delivery. Such a record will enable you to ensure the citizens you serve are able to take full advantage of all the services available to them. Further, having a single record for each citizen has the added benefit of reducing fraud, waste and abuse.
- Quality matters – Few things hinder the delivery of services more than bad data, data with errors, inconsistencies and gaps in completeness. It is difficult, at best, to make sound business decisions with bad data. At the individual level and at the macro level, agency decision makers need complete and accurate data to ensure each citizen is fully served.
- All relationships matter – In this context, going beyond having single records to represent people, it’s also important to have single, authoritative views of other entities – programs, services, providers, deliverables, places, etc.
- Uncover hidden relationships – Too often, in the complex eco-system of government programs and services, the inability to easily recognize relationships between people and the additional entities mentioned above creates inefficiencies in the “system”. For example, it can go unnoticed that a single parent is not enrolled in a special program designed for their unique life circumstances. Flipping the coin, not having a full view of hidden relationships also opens the door for the less scrupulous in society, giving them the ability to hide their fraudulent activities in plain sight.
- Treat relationships respectfully all year – Data hygiene is not a one-time endeavor. Having the right mindset, processes and tools to implement and automate the process of “mastering” data as an on-going process will better ensure the relationship between your agency and those it serves will remain positive and productive.
I may not win the “Cupid of the Year” award, but, I hope my light-hearted Valentine’s Day message has given you a thing or two to think about. Maybe Lennon and McCartney are right, between people, “Love is All You Need”. But, we at Informatica believe for Government-Citizen relationships, a little of the right software can go a long way.