Last updated: March 10, 2022

What is Predictive Analytics and What Could It Mean for Local Governments?

Predictive analytics is an advanced form of metrics that analyzes past behaviors and patterns to make predictions on future outcomes.
Posted by Cole Zercoe
view of city buildings connected by data

In today’s world, smart decision-making hinges on data. The vast majority of modern businesses are utilizing some type of data analytics to improve how they operate, and local governments are catching on to that trend; a June 2021 report found the percentage of cities using data to monitor and analyze progress toward key goals has risen from 30% to 75% since 2015.

The most commonly used data analytics tools gather historical data that stakeholders can use to shape strategies and inform decision-making. This is the form of data analytics most people are familiar with – providing a picture of what has happened, but not what could happen.

While this type of data analytics can be incredibly valuable, some solutions go even further: predictive analytics is an advanced form of metrics that analyzes past behaviors and patterns, then makes predictions on future outcomes. It has many potential applications for local governments.

Here’s a look at the benefits of predictive analytics and how you can use it to help streamline operations in your municipality.

What is Predictive Analytics?

Predictive analytics works its magic through a combination of data mining, machine learning, and statistical modeling. Some popular examples of how it’s currently used in various industries include:

  • Marketing (predicting customer tendencies in order to cross-sell products)
  • Operations (anticipating trends to inform operational tasks like inventory management)
  • Risk assessment (lenders use predictive analytics to determine how likely a loanee will default)

By collecting data that is then fed into predictive models, local governments can better position themselves to be proactive instead of reactive. The more data that’s being fed into a predictive analytics system, the more robust the analytics become, which is why it’s so advantageous for local governments to move their operations into a unified cloud platform that can capture disparate data from a variety of sources.

Predictive analytics can help local governments:

  • Address potential issues before they cause significant problems
  • Better serve community members
  • Improve planning

The Benefits of Predictive Analytics for Local Governments

From creating revenue forecasts to predicting increases in demand for specific services, there is a wide range of areas where predictive analytics can help municipalities become more efficient. Here are some use cases for predictive analytics in local government:

  • view of Los Angeles rush hour trafficLocal governments can use predictive analytics to better respond to major emergencies. For example, NYC Health + Hospitals used predictive analytics to forecast the number of new ICU beds needed during the COVID-19 pandemic’s surges. Other cities have used predictive analytics to more effectively target hotspots in the fight against the opioid epidemic.
  • In Clark County, Nevada, the city is using data to predict utilization of one of its recreational parks and on-site facilities.
  • Some cities have implemented an Early Intervention System (EIS) for their police force, which uses data to predict which officers may be at high risk of having an adverse incident and may be in need of counseling, training, or some other form of intervention.
  • Predictive analytics is used in the transportation industry to predict when vehicles and transit infrastructure will need maintenance. Municipalities can potentially see significant cost savings by implementing this type of predictive analytics into their fleet management in areas such as public transportation.

Why Local Governments Should Utilize Predictive Analytics

Whether it’s used for routine operations like financial planning or extraordinary circumstances like emergency management during major events, predictive analytics has the potential to transform local government operations by illustrating likely outcomes, identifying where needs must be met, and what members of a community need a voice.

The power predictive analytics currently offers organizations only scratches the surface of its capability down the line. Interested in what the future holds? GovOS is currently in the lab working on a predictive analytics solution tailor-made for local governments. The first step is moving your work into the cloud.

Learn how GovOS’ robust suite of cloud-based solutions can help streamline tasks such as business licensing and more, as well as how GovOS plans to help you leverage your data to predict and solve issues before they happen.

Ready to speak to someone about your software needs?

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