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GOV.UK: Data-driven works only really works when you can measure across all silos

Government Digital Service (GDS), the organisation behind the successful English government website GOV.UK, helps the UK government to create optimal public services for everybody. A Single Data Environment (SDE) will bring the service one extra step further in the digital transformation.



Taking data-driven and 'evidence-based' decisions is central to GDS's mission. But for that, a strong data foundation is needed, with high-quality data sources and insights that can be shared with confidence.


Data-driven across all silos

With that idea in mind, GDS is working on an ambitious project to connect digital analytics tracking across all government departments. This will create a single customer view across all services, departments, and platforms. This will help departments better understand pain points and improve customer journeys.

The first step is to identify end-to-end customer processes, with an outcome and value for the customer. That outcome and value can be measured to then improve the less performing steps or elements in the process.

End-to-end process must be measurable

Without visibility into the 'end-to-end' customer journey, GDS says it is limited in:

  • Understanding customer behaviour,

  • The ability to identify and solve pain points,

  • Generating insight or measuring performance, such as 'tasks completed' at the macro level.

The image below shows the problem for GDS: the entire customer journey cannot be followed 'end-to-end'.

Then, the measurement points in the end-to-end processes must be available and connected throughout the entire customer process. This is quite an ambition for the English government, with all its different departments and platforms.


Single Data Environment (SDE)


In the article The Single Data Environment: joined-up digital analytics, GDS states that it has previously tried to achieve this ambition. They have learned from that and now want to try again with the creation of a Single Data Environment (SDE).


An SDE, among other things, makes it possible for the visitor to give permission for analytics cookies only once. After that, this consent applies to all platforms in the end-to-end process.


All data is brought together in a single analytics environment, so that departments can look at their subprocess and GDS can look at the entire end-to-end process. GDS takes care of the maintenance of the SDE so that departments have as little to do with it as possible. They want to start this in January 2023.




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