New SAS book empowers government to use data and analytics for good 

Authors tackle opioids, child abuse, public safety, education, smart cities and more

A new book from SAS, the leader in analytics, guides government leaders in the use of data and analytics to address a wide range of state and local government challenges. Each chapter deals with critical issues facing our country, including the opioid epidemic, child abuse, spiraling health care costs, prison overcrowding, education reform, rampant fraud and the rise of smart cities.

Authored by public servants and analytics experts with decades of experience, A Practical Guide to Analytics for Governments: Using Big Data for Good provides advice and real-world case studies that offer a blueprint for government analytics initiatives.

“This book is full of examples of typical problems and potential solutions that provide insight into how analytics can work in government,” said Eric Reese, Senior Implementation Advisor for the Center for Government Excellence at Johns Hopkins University. “Practitioners from a variety of backgrounds and sectors will benefit from the compelling stories and practical guidance to get government analytics projects off the ground.”

The book’s stories and examples can inspire government analytics efforts that improve citizen services, reduce costs, and ultimately change lives. It is also a helpful information source for citizens who want to better understand the complexities and challenges of state and local government, and the roles analytics can play.

“Nowhere can more good be done, for more people, than in government,” said Paula Henderson, who leads the SAS US Government Practice. “We all hear about analytics and ‘big data,’ but not everyone truly understands it. This book makes the application of data and analytics tangible, and builds excitement about the possibilities.”

Challenges and opportunities, chapter by chapter

The book’s topics mirror many of the news stories we see every day, some heart-wrenching and maddening, others inspiring and hopeful. The book’s authors, who have been on the front lines of these issues, share how analytics can:

  • Improve child well-being by, in part, helping overburdened caseworkers prioritize risk to the children they’re charged with protecting.
  • Drive efforts by state and local education agencies to use data to improve student outcomes.
  • Help local government leaders better serve their citizens and launch innovative smart cities initiatives.
  • Improve health care patient outcomes and help practitioners combat our most dire public health threats such as chronic disease and mental illness.
  • Empower public health and law enforcement agencies to aid people in the throes of opioid addiction, and put away those who profit illegally off the suffering of others.
  • Help criminal justice and public safety manage cases, catch perpetrators and keep citizens – and themselves – safe. Also, confront overcrowded prisons, high recidivism rates, congested courts and strained police-community relations. 
  • Support more strategic transportation infrastructure and planning to get people from point A to point B as safely and efficiently as possible.
  • Crack down on rampant tax and benefits fraud perpetrated by sophisticated networks and schemes.

In addition, the book provides hard-earned wisdom on how government agencies can transform their states and municipalities by launching centers of analytics.

Edited by local government leader and 20-year government analytics veteran Marie Lowman, A Practical Guide to Analytics for Governments: Using Big Data for Good can be ordered from the SAS Publishing bookstore.

“Our country faces many problems. Literally, lives are at stake,” said Henderson. “Analytics can help, but its impact is intensified when used by people with a desire to make a difference. This book is a guide for those dedicated government leaders.”

SAS has served government for more than 40 years and is used extensively by all 50 states and all 15 federal departments. Through data management, business intelligence and analytics solutions, SAS helps government agencies enhance program performance, reduce costs, increase transparency and improve quality of life for citizens.

About SAS

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