The data analytics landscape is fast-changing and constantly evolving, perhaps even more so given how coronavirus has accelerated transformation initiatives. The global pandemic has undoubtedly brought into sharp focus the value of effective data sharing and standardisation of data, while increasing understanding of how data analytics can positively impact an organisation. 

But what are the main trends that can help healthcare and local government leaders navigate their COVID-19 response and recovery and prepare for a post-pandemic reset? We asked the Data and Insights team at Agilisys for the predictions and trends they think the public sector should look out for over the coming 12 months.

Rich Walker - Data and InsightI predict 2021 will be the year when multi-agency working comes back to the top of the priority list. If there’s one thing we know, it’s that you cannot join up services without joining up data! This will mean returning to familiar questions around the role of information governance and interoperability, but with added incentives for success. My dark-horse prediction is that the concept of Decision Intelligence will become a hot topic in our sector – starting with the outcome we want to achieve before designing the solution we have in our heads. We shall see! 

Megan McCluskey - Data and InsightOver the past year, we’ve seen public sector bodies actively embrace data-driven solutions to support their response to Covid-19 and I think we’ll be seeing the longer-term effects of that throughout 2021. Organisations have long been aware of the value that data and insights can unlock, but with so many now having first-hand experience of the potential benefits, as well as greater confidence in their ability to leverage these capabilities, I think 2021 will be the year whebecoming data-led is no longer an aspiration but a reality.

Chris HydeI’m going to go out on a limb here and predict that data quality could just be the hot topic of 2021. With the release of the Government Data Quality Framework for the UK and the launch of Microsoft’s Purview as a service to automate data governance – on the same day, no less!  public sector organisations are starting to realise that they no longer need to tolerate patchy, unreliable, poorly-organised data. A systematic approach to data governance has the potential to revolutionise the services that generate, use and increasingly rely on data to deliver efficient, effective services. 

Dan Thompson - Data and InsightFor me, 2021 will be the year when the local government and healthcare sectors fully recognise the need to utilise and invest in insight solutions, building the foundations for data science approaches that can forecast, predict and learn. This will drive the continued emergence of ML and AI technologies to transform business processes, creating an exciting opportunity for lasting change.

Ben Scully - Data and Insight2021 will be the ‘so what’ year for data and insights. As multi-million pound technology investments become more mature post-deployment, and the world seeks a new normal post-Covid, senior leaders and frontline staff expect a return on the capital committed and change fatigue endured. This means better evaluation of the interventions we implement and the outcomes they achieve – a persistent challenge in the context of a multi-agency public sector, but one which may just become unavoidable in the new world. 

Venkat YarabatiI think there are four key data themes for 2021. Firstly, I think it will be the year when real-time operational data analytics gains momentum as new tooling to support becomes pervasive. Secondly, democratisation of predictive and data analytics will happen, therefore resulting in end user AI/ML becoming mainstream. Thirdly, convergence of data analytics components into integrated one-stop solutions will become the norm. Finally, I predict that data discovery, data governance and data compliance technologies will merge into a single service offering, thereby significantly reducing the operational overheads.