Difference between BI in the public sector and private sector

Find out the major difference between business intelligence (BI) in the public sector and BI in the private sector and get an expert's take on trends for those using BI in the public sector.

1. What is your vision of BI in general and for the public sector specifically?

2. What are the trends you see using BI in the public sector?

Many U.S. public sector companies have been behaving as if they are motivated in much the same way as private sector companies. For those companies, my vision of BI is the same as that in the private sector (see 2001 year end BI review on SearchCRM).

Where the major difference lies is in the motivations behind BI. In the ROI seminars that I teach, sometimes public sector folks have a more difficult time following the concepts. Their goals may be different from ROI and they may target goals that fall short of ROI but provide value to the constituency they serve or the public at large.

Trends in BI in the private sector tend to lag that of the public sector by 1-5 years. Many in the public sector would claim they are allowing the private sector to make the mistakes and indeed in many ways they are!

The biggest assist BI can give the public sector is in the area of homeland security and implementing BI that reconciles profiles across various agencies. Much valuable data is already there and being collected by individual agencies, but de-duplication, central collection and mining for actionable information are challenges. Civil liberty groups have been subdued somewhat lately but remain opposed too much of this and that remains a challenge as well.

To be sure, much more detailed requirements are developed with public sector companies and more diligence put in up front. This is both positive and negative to the objectives. It does delay time-to-market, which is another private sector concept that is becoming more relevant each day to the public sector.

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