No one should have been surprised by the outcome of yesterday’s presidential election.
That’s because data analytics now afford perfected math-based, non-subjective models that closely matched the outcome, according to New York Times Columnist Timothy Egan.
“This was the year the meta-analyst shoved aside the old-school pundit. Simon Jackman of Stanford, Sam Wang at the Princeton Election Consortium and, of course, our colleague Nate Silver, all perfected math-based, non-subjective models that produced predictions that closely matched the outcomes,” he writes.
Indeed, Romney donors would have been better off reading the in-trade prediction model – based on real money bet on the outcome. They put the odds of an Obama win at 72 percent on election eve.
Politics aside, this suggests the true power of data analytics and what it could mean for the federal government. There’s already progress.
Dawn Meyerriecks recently declared this the decade for analytics for the intelligence community. Federal leaders are using analytics to make better decisions and improve workforce performance and help find tax cheats. In some cases, predictive analytics are driving efficiency.
Impavidus Group says he sees some missed opportunities. His consultancy specializes in strategy and innovation, organizational alignment, and transformation management consulting for federal clients, including the Department of Defense.
“On the training side, for instance, there was a really good report by the GAO a couple years back looking at the Navy,” he said. “They saw cost reduction and efficiency metrics. But they had virtually no way to tell us about the effectiveness of training. There are more students, training is quicker, but in terms of the quality and effectiveness of the training for the person coming out the other side, they don’t have the analytic capability to tell that story.”
He added: “To do (data analytics) right, really requires interagency collaboration … to draw correlations.”
Change is afoot. Data and analytics have already made an impact across myriad agencies and will continue to do so. While government is nowhere near the level of predicting the presidential election, the future is full of possibility.