By Juliana McMillan-Wilhoit

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Local governments hold immense potential to utilize data to enhance transparency, accountability, and service delivery for their communities. However, many face challenges in implementing data modernization for local government due to siloed systems, lack of skills and resources, and unclear strategies.

Our Public Sector Data Modernization Maturity Model (DM3) for local government comes in here. DM3 provides local governments with a comprehensive roadmap tailored to their unique contexts to evolve their data capabilities and accelerate data modernization for local governments.

Developed by our team at Flourish & Thrive Labs with years of experience partnering with local governments on data modernization for local government, DM3 is more than a tool – it’s a trusted guide. Read on to understand how we can support your digital transformation journey.

The Struggles Local Governments Face

While many local governments recognize the value of leveraging data, moving from intent to implementation can be challenging. Outdated, disjointed systems make accessing quality data difficult. Lack of technical skills, funding constraints, and unclear modernization strategies overwhelm many about where to start.

DM3 is designed to cut through these complexities. It evaluates your current data ecosystem, identifies priority areas, and provides a sequenced roadmap aligned to your strategic goals. DM3 also focuses on building data skills and culture, enabling long-term, sustainable change.

With DM3, you can enhance data practices incrementally, starting from where you are. You will gain clarity on high-impact steps that can transform how your government leverages data to serve constituents.

Current State of Data Capabilities

The data modernization journeys of local governments across the U.S. vary widely. Some are actively enhancing their data systems and skills. However, many still rely on manual processes and struggle to use data to drive decisions and performance.

Challenges local governments face in their data modernization:

  • Data stored in disparate systems that don’t “talk” to each other
  • Lack of standards and governance around data quality
  • Minimal use of data insights to inform policies, programs, operations
  • Resource constraints in investing in skills, technologies
  • Unclear roadmap aligned to strategic priorities

While progress has been made, the need for tailored data modernization support persists. DM3 meets local governments where they are and evolves their data practices for the future.

Your Guide In Data Modernization for Local Government

DM3 provides local governments with an expert guide focused on their specific contexts and priorities to traverse the intricacies of data modernization.

It begins with thoroughly assessing your current data ecosystem through open conversations with staff at all levels. This stage uncovers strengths, gaps, needs, and aspirations to inform the next steps.

We then map your data flows to identify bottlenecks and opportunities. Your priorities determine focus areas: enhancing data infrastructure, analytics capabilities, governance, or skills.

Next, we benchmark your data maturity in different dimensions through the DM3 framework. The tailored roadmap identifies feasible, high-impact activities to advance your modernization efforts based on your readiness.

As your trusted partner, we support the implementation of recommendations, providing coaching, and building local capacity. This ensures changes are sustainable and continue driving improvements.

Throughout the process, the focus remains on how enhanced data practices can help you better serve constituents. DM3 enables leveraging data securely, ethically, and effectively for the public good.

Now that we’ve covered the overall process let’s dive into the key components of our DM3 model:

This identifies the six foundational components we embed throughout the data modernization journey to drive systemic, sustainable improvements in how your government leverages data.

Data Life Cycle View

  • We assess and evolve capabilities across the entire data life cycle – from initial collection to processing, analysis, dissemination, and use.
  • Enhancing any stage of the cycle results in higher quality, timely, and actionable data.
  • Steps may include implementing new data collection methods, automation to process data faster, advanced analytics for insights, data standards, and APIs for dissemination, and data visualization/tools to support decision-making.

Equity Lens

  • Equity is embedded throughout the data modernization process.
  • We ensure inclusive data collection, capturing diverse resident perspectives and needs.
  • Data interpretation and use processes are transparent and give voice to marginalized groups.
  • This enables data to be leveraged to serve and benefit all communities equitably.

Leadership Alignment

  • Gaining leadership buy-in across departments on the value of data is key.
  • We help leaders be effective champions and role models for data-driven decision-making.
  • Leadership support empowers staff at all levels to use data to inform work.
  • A clear vision and strategy from the top facilitates organizational alignment.

Partnership Leverage

  • We help identify partners like universities, non-profits, and software vendors.
  • Partners provide funding, specialized technical skills, and community insights.
  • This augments your government’s internal data modernization capacities.
  • The right partnerships allow you to tap into leading practices and elevate efforts.

Sustainability Focus

  • Securing ongoing investments in people, systems, and processes enables long-term success.
  • We guide the development of continuity plans factoring lifecycle costs of technologies.
  • Staff data literacy programs create retained organizational knowledge.
  • Sustaining changes ensures your data practices continue delivering value.

Governance Structures

  • Formal data policies and controls are foundational.
  • We establish decision frameworks specifying accountabilities across departments.
  • Governance evolves alongside your data ecosystem as needs change.
  • Well-designed governance boosts data quality, security and strategic value.

The DM3 Difference

What sets DM3 apart is its combination of:

  • Tailored approach focused on your context
  • Public sector expertise grounded in realities of local governments
  • Sustainable change model strengthening local capabilities
  • Holistic process encompassing people, culture, technology
  • Guidance on strategic priorities, not just tools and systems
  • Ongoing partnership support for enduring improvements

Many data modernization models focus purely on technical tools. But to drive adoption and impact, factors like staff skills, leadership buy-in, governance, and community alignment are equally crucial.

DM3 moves beyond IT systems to enable a transformation in how your government leverages data. Our public sector expertise and sustained partnership ensure changes stick.

Ultimately, it’s about empowering local governments to use data to make decisions and serve communities in an accountable, inclusive, and impactful way.

Start Your Data Modernization Journey

Whether early on or well into your modernization efforts, DM3 can help accelerate progress tailored to your local government. Key signals indicating readiness to engage in the process include:

  • Leadership commitment to expanding data-driven governance
  • Pressing community issues that better data insights could help solve
  • Identified gaps in data infrastructure, quality, or utilization
  • Opportunities to enhance transparency, equity and performance
  • Availability of funding and staff time for process engagement

The first step is an exploratory discussion on your priorities, needs, and DM3 fit. There is no cost for this consultation to assess the value of our partnership.

If mutual alignment exists, we will develop a scope of activities, timeline, and investment customized to your local government. We aim to create an ambitious yet achievable roadmap within your realities.

Now is the time to evolve how you leverage data to make policies, deliver services, engage communities, and steward resources. Unlock your potential as a data-driven local government with DM3.

Contact our experts at Flourish & Thrive Labs to get started on your modernization journey today!

Embark on Your Data Modernization Adventure Today!

Embarking on the path of data modernization is an adventure best taken with a guide. Schedule your initial consultation to discover how our DM3 tool can provide you with a customized roadmap for your journey. Let's navigate the complexities of data modernization together! Choose a convenient time for you and let's get started!