The same story plays out at the state level as well. State governments rely on tax revenue to fund government programs, but unpaid debts – along with fraud, waste and abuse of the tax system – lead to a shortfall in funds.
A new book from SAS, A Practical Guide to Analytics for Governments: Using Big Data for Good, looks at how state governments have used advanced analytics for the greater good. The stories in this book show how analytics have helped state and local government agencies improve government services, directly impacting the lives of citizens.
One chapter focuses on Carl Hammersburg, a former professional fraud buster for Washington State. He led data sharing and analytics efforts that doubled audits and tripled outcomes, earning awards from two successive governors. His story shows how rampant fraud is throughout government and how it can manifest in unexpected places.
“We all hear about analytics and ‘big data’ but not everyone truly understands it,” wrote Paula Henderson, SAS vice president for state and local government, in the book’s foreword. “This book makes the application of data and analytics tangible, and builds excitement about the possibilities.”
While the stories focus on state and local government agencies, they're also relevant for the federal sector. Many of the challenges that state and local governments face are similar, if not exactly the same, at the federal level.
By recouping more lost tax revenue, the federal government would be able to better fund programs to help citizens. That includes, but is not limited to, health, defense, education and housing.
Advanced analytics can also help government officials spot trends in fraud, waste and abuse, along with better identifying the gaps in the system that allow this fraud to take place. As our book shows, advanced analytics can have a dramatic influence on people’s lives.
The stories we tell highlight the challenges governments face and how analytics can help. These stories are not about technology, but about people. By telling their stories we can show how analytics can help government agencies improve daily life. It's powerful to see not only what analytics can do, but how government employees succeed when handed the right tools.