FedInsight by Smartsheet

Agencies can connect the data to drive productivity improvements

Legacy IT modernization and cloud collaboration

Gartner has this stat that says 60% of an employee’s work is self-managed, which means a large part of their job has to be accomplished using what's on their desktop, or what they can access on the cloud. Nobody tells them exactly how to do it.

Low-code/no-code platforms and protecting data

Every day, they can create workflows, they can collaborate with others and go through the big exercise of preparing reports from the boss for the big monthly meeting or those sorts of things. Because they're able to see an aggregate of all of what all their employees are doing, how they're tracking across projects and processes and those sorts of things, CWM gives you the capability to actually see what people are working on day in and day out.

Data is the fuel that is driving agency mission success. The challenge for many agencies is pulling the data out of siloes and aggregate so senior executives can make better decisions.

The thirst for this data and the need for tools to help collect and understand it is growing off the charts. Deltek, a market research firm, estimated that agencies will spend more than $4 billion by 2024 on data analytics tools. That spending is on top of other drivers like cloud and infrastructure modernization and workforce training around big data.

The benefits of breaking down the data siloes and integrating data are huge. During the pandemic, agencies saw them first hand where sharing information across the agency and the government helped improve citizen services and achieve mission goals.

A paper from the Harvard Kennedy School of Government found the benefits of using data to move toward a leading indicator instead of a lagging indicator includes financial savings, operational improvements and increased faith and trust in government.

The key to achieving these and other improvements is real-time access to the data and analysis to ensure changes can be made sooner than later and the leadership are all working from the same page.

Chris Aherne, the vice president of federal at Smartsheet, said agencies can move toward this data-driven environment by focusing on a combination of people, process and technology.

On the people side, Aherne said it’s a matter of training so employees understand how to use the tools at their disposal.

“Gartner has this stat that says 60% of an employee’s work is self-managed, which means a large part of their job has to be accomplished using what’s on their desktop, or what they can access on the cloud. Nobody tells them exactly how to do it,” Aherne said on the Innovation in Government show. “They get some training and those sorts of things, but they have to build processes, they have to build workflows and they have to integrate and get the data that they need.”

At the same time, these desktop systems create data and application siloes that force agencies to shift between the tools they need to complete their mission.

Aherne said one solution that more and more agencies are turning to is a collaborative work management (CWM) platform.

What typifies a CWM solution, the first tenant is usability. You need to have a capability that’s out there that folks can learn in a matter of hours or days as opposed to months. That’s a big tenant,” he said. “Then the other part is cloud. So if you think about it, if I’m working on an Excels spreadsheet that only I can see, then I have to save it, then I have to email it to you. I have to report on it and get it to my boss, right, and all those sorts of things, while I’m jumping from tool to tool and place to place. The average person–I saw the study from Pegasystems–switches screens 1,100 times a day. It’s not necessarily the best way to work. And CWM is a platform where, leveraging the cloud again, you can do all that stuff in one place.”

Meanwhile, the training of people to use the tools, the applications themselves must promote and make collaboration easy, and then there are the processes.

Aherne said the CWM platform helps agencies automate processes and promote the use of low-code and no-code development tools.

“Every day, they can create workflows, they can collaborate with others and go through the big exercise of preparing reports from the boss for the big monthly meeting or those sorts of things. Because they’re able to see an aggregate of all of what all their employees are doing, how they’re tracking across projects and processes and those sorts of things, CWM gives you the capability to actually see what people are working on day in and day out,” he said.

Aherne said when agencies combine the people, process and technology under a CWM platform, they can see up to a 40% increase in productivity from the same number of staff, they can reduce their risks due to having better visibility into what was going on all their projects at all times and rely on data to drive better decisions.

Listen to the full show:

About Smartsheet

Smartsheet is the enterprise platform for dynamic work. By aligning people and technology so organizations can move faster and drive innovation, Smartsheet enables its millions of users to achieve more.

Smartsheet Gov empowers agency leaders to bridge silos across teams, gain real-time visibility across initiatives, and accelerate mission results while maintaining security. Built to meet the enhanced compliance requirements of the US Government, Smartsheet Gov is a FedRAMP and DISA IL4 authorized cloud-based collaborative work management platform that enables agencies to achieve more across every department.

Find out why federal government agencies like the DoD, GSA, and NASA trust Smartsheet with their work at help.smartsheet.com/government.

Featured speakers

  • Chris Aherne

    Vice President of Federal, Smartsheet

  • Jason Miller

    Executive Editor, Federal News Network