Leave human services analytics in the box…for now

Why getting started with analytics has nothing to do with analytics


Imagine shortening foster care stays by measuring characteristics of permanently reunifying families. Or precisely identifying activities that lead people to self-sufficiency faster. Or dramatically reducing service delivery costs while improving outcomes for people? You can—with analytics.

With so many human services agencies investing in and using analytics, these things should be widespread realities, not distant possibilities. But they aren’t, at least not everywhere. Too often, agencies are caught in the hype, jumping into human services analytics without the right foundation. They are focusing on analytics as a tool to solve a problem, rather than as a new function to embed into the whole organization.


There is great enthusiasm for analytics in human services. The Accenture Analytics Pulse Survey reveals that 88 percent of US state and local decision makers say they are currently using analytics to address errors and non-compliance. That’s the largest use of analytics among all six countries surveyed except for Canada and larger than the US federal market (66 percent.)

While this enthusiasm has translated into outcomes in pockets, analytics has yet to transform human services delivery to the extent that it could. Survey participants point to barriers to the success, with lack of investment funding (57 percent), lack of understanding (52 percent), and data protection/privacy (48 percent) topping the list.


To become insight-driven in all public service delivery, human services agencies must:

  1. Start with the end in sight

  2. Keep sponsors on board

  3. Find the money fast

  4. Build the network

Human services analytics is essential to outcomes—and to delivering public service for the future. Those organizations that take the time to organize the vision and set the right strategy start by focusing on where they want to go, not just on the tools to get them there.

Human Services Analytics

Is Human Services analytics your outcomes answer?
It takes the right strategies, approaches and attitudes to move from the promise to the pay off of human services analytics.

The energy around human services analytics is palpable—and understandable—considering the potential of analytics to allow for more targeted and cost-effective human services delivery.

Yet while analytics is poised to change the game in human services, getting results does not always come easy. Move from questions to answers with insights and leading practices from human services practitioners who are putting analytics to work to deliver outcomes today.