The Cincinnati story: optimizing local government management through performance and data analytics.

Author:Black, Harry

Government can operate at a high level of performance --although some local governments optimize performance better than others. Public-sector organizations must overcome several built-in challenges, including outdated civil service systems and the challenges presented by labor contracts. Government organizations are also limited in terms of performance incentives that can be offered to the workforce. The challenge is to overcome these issues by integrating sound labor management principles and practices, which can be done through performance and data analytics.

Time is of the essence for local governments in this age of the Internet of things and big data. A fundamental question is "Can government be disrupted?" The answer is yes, and it will happen, brought about by driverless cars, drones, big data-driven algorithms, and robots. The way that we currently conduct business in government will change, requiring fewer people, fewer facilities, and less equipment.

Disruption can be minimized, but only if governments aggressively pursue an examination of what they do and how they do it. Governments need to ask themselves several basic questions every day: Are we making a difference? Are we maintaining and exceeding our customer's expectations? Are we optimizing innovation? Are the impactful things that we are doing sustainable?


Meetings with more than 150 business, neighborhood, and religious leaders made it clear that Cincinnati was ripe for performance and data analytics. Everyone who took part in these discussions shared a desire for an effective, efficient, and responsive city government that would:

* Improve customer service.

* Be more responsive.

* Improve economic inclusion.

* Overcome infrastructure challenges.

* Reinvent the city's permitting process.

* Enhance safety.

The customer service governments provide does not have to be mediocre, slow, or inadequate. Local government management can be innovative, collaborative, interactive, transparent, and high performing. Performance and data analytics can quickly help local governments with optimizing overall performance, generating economies and efficiencies, and creating operational breakthroughs.

Cincinnati has 6,400 employees across more than 25 departments and a $1.4 billion budget to support a residential population of 300,000. The city has endeavored to achieve a comprehensive and integrated approach that systematically integrates several critical components. The Office of Performance and Data Analytics was approved in October 2014, and Cincinnati then added a chief performance officer and chief data officer. Between October 2014 and May 2015, the city built a standalone state-of-the-art facility that became the Office of Performance and Data Analytics (OPDA). The program was officially launched in May 2015. Housing the core of the program in OPDA--CincyStat, Innovation Lab, and Open Data--has maximized collaboration. Cities...

To continue reading