The Social Contract - What role for Business Intelligence?


The majority of governments around the world are parties in a 'social contract'; simply put, citizens give them permission to raise funds through taxation etc, decide on policy (what to spend the money on) and then invest or disperse funds on their behalf.

However, many governments are faced with increasing degrees of citizen dissatisfaction with levels of taxation; how the decisions are made on what to spend this money on; and certainly on the perceived inefficiency of governments when it comes to actually spending the money (many of us will have noticed the increased level of attention on levels of fraud and waste in the Public Sector).

Business intelligence, as it's understood by SAS, presents opportunities for delivering improved performance in government.

Firstly; in policy-making, a greater insight into current and future demands on the Public Sector can support 'evidence-based decision-making'. Socio-geodemographic analysis, macro-economics, etc. can all inform the political process, focusing limited resources on issues that have the greatest perceived benefit on the citizenry.

Secondly, the raising of funds, for example through taxation, can be a burden more fairly distributed by targeting those who don't pay (or don't pay enough) tax and in improving debt collection processes, This touches on such issues as fraud, avoidance schemes, etc.

Finally, as a result of better policy and through programmes of social inclusion, governments can then focus funding on meeting the priorities of the day (for example in 'raising from poverty', 'doing more with less', etc.).

In a truly integrated public sector, the vast resources of data that are routinely harvested and available to governments can be exploited to delivering a fairer, more just society that benefits all and not just the 'standard' majority. There are undoubtedly challenges ahead (e.g. data sharing, coherent policy, etc.) but these can be overcome, provided the political will exists.


About Author

Peter Dorrington

Director, Marketing Strategy (EMEA)

I am the Director of Marketing Strategy for the EMEA region at SAS Institute and have more than 25 years experience in IT and computing systems. My current role is focused on supporting SAS’ regional marketing operations in developing marketing strategies and programs aligned around the needs of SAS’ markets and customers.

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