With significant pressure on governments to make better use of resources than ever before, it will become especially important to improve the efficacy and efficiency of decision-making in ways that ensure the right services are delivered in a timely fashion, and drive revenue, control cost and reduce risk
Intelligent Decisioning is a modernised, analytically powered decisioning approach that combines business rules management, real-time event detection, decision governance and powerful advanced analytics capabilities to automate and manage a range of operational decisions. Many of its applications have focused on commercial businesses, such as delivering ‘next best offer’ for customers. However, the scope for transforming decision-making across government is immense.
1. Intelligent decisioning results in better decisions, fewer mistakes
Governments need to deliver reliable and ethical decisions. These decisions need to be consistent for everyone, applied fairly, and be transparent and auditable. Everyone should be confident that decisions are unbiased and there's accountability within the process. Intelligent decisioning enables all this. Decisions are made in nearly real time, which reduces the delay between identifying opportunities and acting on them. As a result, decisions are more accurate and relevant - leading to fewer challenges, and lower costs and risk.
2. Automated decision systems are faster and simplify the process
Fundamentally, people want fast decisions and simple interactions with governments. For example, they want to quickly know if they're eligible for benefits and receive them right away. They want to know how much they owe in taxes and have an easy way to pay them. They want to be recognised across services and not enter their information multiple times. Faster and integrated decision making leads to happier citizens, employees and stakeholders.
3. You can draw on a wider range of data from more sources, and potentially integrate these
Government departments (and functions within departments) hold a lot of data about citizens. Intelligent decisioning systems allow this data to be combined and used to make holistic decisions about individuals, businesses and policies. This ensures that decisions are fair and helps to avoid unintended consequences. It also means that more holistic services can be provided, enabling them to be more effective. For example, bringing together more data helps reduce criminal reoffending rates by providing insights into better services that meet the needs of individuals and families at an earlier stage. There is also cost savings from removing overlap between different functions, and from combining analytics systems into a single place.
4. By improving data quality, less time is needed to justify decisions
We all know that garbage in equals garbage out. Incorporating data quality within the intelligent decisioning process improves overall data quality, data management and data governance. Staff, stakeholders and citizens have more confidence in decisions that emerge. As trust develops, there will be fewer challenges to decisions and less time spent responding to appeals or providing explanations of the decision. In turn, overall system costs are reduced and staff has more time to focus on complex issues and interactions.
5. Decision-making algorithms can detect fraud before it happens
Potential fraud is often detected because it's anomalous and doesn't fit a usual pattern. That might be due to multiple applications from a single address, or the same telephone number, or the timing of an application. Detection algorithms incorporated as part of the process can immediately detect such patterns in real time and flag them for immediate investigation. A recent report into fraud in local government in the UK suggested that over £300 million had been detected and prevented in 2017/18, but more was estimated to have gone undetected. Procurement and commissioning fraud accounts for the £266m of the £1.29b lost to the NHS in England every year due to economic crime. If the UK Health Service was ever in need of incorporating intelligent decisioning within its processes, it’s now more than ever! The potential savings here are huge.
6. Automated decisioning can control buildings and save infrastructure costs
The government estate (including local government) is huge, with large numbers of buildings around the country. Intelligent decisioning systems can automate building management and energy consumption. Smart lighting and heating solutions, controlled by algorithms, can respond to demand and reduce costs for energy. For local government, this can also control street lighting, resulting in even greater savings. If the UK economy is going to achieve the target of bringing all greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, intelligent decisioning will play a major role in helping achieve this target.
How have you seen intelligent decisioning drive down costs for government?