SAS Government Leadership Forum highlights analytics in government innovation...and Pokemon?

Data and analytics in government pop up in unexpected places. Pokemon Go players wouldn't catch many without government data. Flickr image by Brian Miller

One would expect analytics in government to be a hot topic at a SAS government event. What the crowd didn't see coming was Margaret Weichert, Acting Director of the US Office of Personnel Management and Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget, touting her ability to catch a Pokémon.

Weichert’s love of Pokémon Go comes from two sources, she told the crowd at the recent SAS Government Leadership Forum: First, the company Niantic that built Pokémon Go came out of her alma mater, the University of California, Berkeley; but also the game makes use of government data and innovation.

Bringing together weather, location, and monuments data, which all originate from government sources, Pokémon Go shows how federal data can lead to commercial innovation. Similarly, leveraging its vast knowledge base and innovative workforce, the government can use the data it already has in new and exciting ways.

The idea of analytics in government innovation was paramount at the Government Leadership Forum. Throughout the day’s program, which can be viewed here, leaders from federal, state and local governments shared the innovative ways they have used data and analytics to meet their mission.

For some speakers, analytics helped them reduce fraud, waste and abuse, saving their agency millions of dollars. For others, it was using these technologies to fight real-world problems, such as the opioid epidemic or the financing of terrorist organizations.

“We have entered the digital frontier,” Steve Bennett, director of the SAS Global Government Practice, said. “There is data all around us. The challenge now is to find the value in this data, and to think about it in new and different ways that can spur significant change and improvement.”

The use of analytics in government is immediately applicable to its own workforce. The government has entered a period known as the “Silver Tsunami” where more than a third of its workforce is eligible to retire.

That exodus of talent and experience could leave government agencies in a perilous position. Jon Lemon, a senior systems analyst at SAS, said agencies could use data and analytics to plan for these employee retirements.

“Analytics can help show what positions these employees will leave, where potential workforce gaps may be created, and what special skills agencies may need to prioritize when hiring the next generation,” Lemon said. “Analytics can help lessen the impact of these retirements, so agencies do not find themselves in the position where they wake up one day and lack people in critical positions.”

As the SAS Government Leadership Forum showed, more than anything else, analytics in government can provide benefits any place data exists. Analytics can give a true picture of what is happening in a given situation, allowing leaders to change policies or priorities. They can then see the impact of that change as their programs progress.

Please visit to watch the presentations from the Government Leadership Forum and stay tuned for more blogs inspired by the content from the event.



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Paula Henderson

Former Executive Vice President & Chief Sales Officer, Americas

Paula Henderson led teams across the Americas in industries such as government, financial services, health care, life sciences, consumer packaged goods, manufacturing, energy and telecommunications. She partnered with industry leaders to create transformational digital solutions designed to modernize and optimize the performance of corporations and communities.

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