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CadenceQuest: Three steps to BI success with government clients

CadenceQuest: Three steps to BI success with government clients - top government contractors - best government contracting event
CadenceQuest's CEO, Bob Ghafouri
CadenceQuest's CEO, Bob Ghafouri
CadenceQuest's CEO, Bob Ghafouri

The time is now for business intelligence in government. Obama's call for greater transparency proves as much. So does the appointment of a first-ever chief performance officer. Helping to meet the need is CadenceQuest, an Arlington, Va.-based company that provides BI solutions to top retailers such as Staples and CVS. CadenceQuest is also becoming a leading provider of performance management solutions to federal government agencies, and not a moment too soon. “Business intelligence provides an effective tool for [government] leaders to readily answer the call for increased visibility into their agencies,“ says Bob Ghafouri, CadenceQuest's CEO. “This shift furthers the performance management movement toward a more commercial-style organization focused on timely, cost-effective results,“ he adds. Here Ghafouri offers three must-dos to be successful in the BI space, and what CadenceQuest is doing to help federal clients meet the demands of 21st century government.

Three Must-Dos

CadenceQuest's advanced BI and analytical tools allow clients to take advantage of financial, customer service, procurement, and other structured data across the enterprise as well as unstructured data, such as blogs and websites. The company also takes what it calls “historical information“ and predicts, algorithmically, what may happen in the future. To reach that point of capability with your government clients, Ghafouri recommends the following steps:

  • Start small for a quick win. Frequently BI initiatives, especially in government, start large. Ghafouri advises the opposite. “Pick one business challenge within an agency,“ he says.  Maybe the area is financial transparency, for example, and you want to understand how well a set of selected programs' costs are aligning with budgets approved by Congress. Instead of creating an enterprise-wide architecture, start with one focused on a specific area and get a quick win, preferably 45 to 60 days out. Then use that quick win to gain momentum and consensus around another opportunity, perhaps in human capital management or procurement analytics, for example, says Ghafouri.
  • Begin with the end in mind. “A lot of times folks will select the hardware, software or networking environment first instead of starting by defining the requirements, analytical outputs, and audience for the business challenge,“ says Ghafouri. So, start with the end in mind. And ask yourself: What business objective is this performance management solution going to solve? Once you know, your business users will quickly become apparent. So will the type of information you need to pull in. From there, you can better determine the tools you need. But always remember: The tools are secondary, says Ghafouri.
  • Work toward a single version of the truth. “The end goal is to create a single version of the truth across the organization “¦ whether it's a definition for “˜case resolved' or one that spells out a specific cost center,“ says Ghafouri. Reaching that end goal requires that an organization understand what they need to measure, what data sources are available, the quality of the data, and how the data model can create insight for business users.

Speaking of insight “¦

CadenceQuest recently launched a new application among government clients that enables users to analyze massive amounts of information within agencies. The application, known as Customer Insight for Government, allows users to derive information that can shed crucial light on several key areas: transparency, program success (or failure), entity resolution, customer experience, purchasing behavior, and program integrity.

With its easy-to-use business interface, the application has already met with success among commercial clients such as CVS, Staples, and Nielsen, the international rating company. Now, the application is proving useful to government clients. “As we've talked to more leaders in the federal market, the idea of understanding each organization's customers in detail through hard data benefits many different government applications including beneficiary or veteran's experience with a call center or website, ensuring the correct information for a fugitive or illegal alien, and determining cross agency purchasing behavior based on customer segments,“ says Ghafouri. “An even broader example is if you are trying to reduce costs by assessing purchasing behavior patterns through acquisitions made via contract vehicles and purchase cards,“ he adds. Customer Insight allows non technical business users “” whether they're working call centers or in procurement or program integrity “” to conduct advanced analytics with virtually no training.

So, what's next for CadenceQuest in the federal space? It plans to launch what it calls “rapid start business intelligence appliances.“ These BI plug and play appliances, focused on customer insight are quick to install and configure so that agencies can derive key performance indicators (KPIs) “” within 45 to 60 days “” to analyze massive amounts of data within their organizations. Stay tuned.

What BI tools are proving useful with your government clients? Share your comments here.

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Rick Marcotte, CEO of DLT Solutions is Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year Award Finalist
Congressman Jim Langevin on Cybersecurity - top government contractors - best government contracting event
Congressman Jim Langevin on Cybersecurity