“The Expanding Digital Universe: A Forecast of Worldwide Information Growth Through 2010,” IDC white paper,March 2007
How New Yorkers hold theircity accountable
New York’s famously hard-to-pleasecitizens can now see exactly what they’regetting for their city tax dollars: an onlineperformance measurement tool thatmakes the workings of governmenttransparent. Just as important, city officialsnow have advanced analytical toolsto run the Big Apple more effectively.Dubbed “The Mother of All AccountabilityTools," the Citywide Performance Reporting(CPR) system gives New Yorkers accessto constantly updated performance datafrom city agencies. Each year, the mayor'smanagement report makes performanceindicators public. Now the CPR system,launched in February 2008, is making 300of those indicators available online, plus anadditional 200 indicators that are integralto New Yorkers’ quality of life and thatwill be updated monthly.But New York City mayor MichaelBloomberg also sees the CPR as a crucialmanagement tool. Integrating performance-related statistics from 60 city organizations,the system is helping Bloomberg’s citymanagers make more intelligent decisionsby providing them with fast and flexibleaccess to information about citizens’demands and agency performance. Thesystem features four dashboards fromwhich users can access reports designedto address the city’s overall performancemanagement, customer service andservice delivery. The CPR comparescurrent performance to performanceduring the same time last year, providingashort-term performance trend or"snapshot" for use in real-time decisionmaking. It quickly highlights performancethat is trending in a negative direction,providing color-coded early warningfor areas that need attention.Through New York City's Web site, theCPR offers: graphical representation of performance, including pie charts to makeperformance trends easy to identify;drill-downs that allow users to reviewcomparative trends for up to a five-yearperiod; and monthly, quarterly or annualupdates of each critical measure, dependingon how often the statistic is produced.The system will be updated monthly withthe most current measurements availablefor each performance indicator.Built on Oracle business-intelligencesoftware, the CPR provides a standardizedreporting format across all agencies andall data types. It aggregates data acrossagencies into "city-wide themes" thatrepresent groups of related services suchas infrastructure, education or public safety.The system also provides easy downloadingto help users analyze and present systemdata. The CPR system is proving so effectivethat many of the city’sagencies are nowlooking for ways to apply the new BI toolsmore broadly.Next, New York City officials plan toexpand performance reporting capabilitieswith additional city-wide, agency andprogram-specific dashboards. They alsointend to integrate GIS analysis toolsto display service request informationon a map and increase the analyticsdata available to the public.In tandem, organizations have morecapable software and hardware to beable to capture, store, distribute andinterpret all this data. There is moreprocessing power on desktops as well asin data centers. And real-time businessintelligence (BI) software, in which auto-mated decisions are embedded in businessprocesses, is rapidly gaining ground.At the same time, demand is soaringfor better insights and more effectiveways of gathering and interpreting datain the service of better decision making.Demand is coming not only from a bat-tery of amply discussed external factors—the spread of terrorism, a greater needfor transparency in government affairs,higher expectations from Internet-savvycitizens, and so on—but also from a newgeneration of technology-literate anddata-literate executives who have grownup using Excel and basing more of theirdecisions on facts.Prime-time television gives an intriguingperspective on the widening influence of analytics today.The popular U.S. show“Numb3rs”—about a crime-fighting FBIagent and his brother,amath professor—is based on real FBI cases where theagency has brought in mathematiciansand statisticians to help solve crimes,fight terrorism, and so on. The show haseven led to a nationwide math educationinitiative headed by Texas Instrumentsand backed by CBS and the NationalCouncil of Teachers of Mathematics.