Finance data analytics and visualization

Starting in April 2017, Statistics Canada’s Finance Branch embarked on a journey to modernize our staff’s data analytics and storytelling capabilities. By recognizing the Branch’s potential in this field and by building upon a strong foundation of existing technical skills, our goal is to increase value for our clients through enhanced Business Intelligence and to become a centre of expertise for Internal Services analysis and interactive reporting. 

As a first step, we’ve established a working group of more than 60 Finance employees who have shown a strong interest in data analytics and visualization. This working group meets bi-weekly and centres on open learning, idea sharing, exploration and solution building. The group’s work has been greatly facilitated by Microsoft PowerBI: a powerful self-serve BI tool that makes data exploration, transformation and visualization incredibly accessible and fun.

In the spirit of open learning and collaboration, we’ve started reaching out to external partners (other government departments) to share our journey so far and to learn from their experiences. We’ve also created a GCconnex page.

We’ve started outreach activities to other areas in the Agency; for example, we’ve recently engaged with Special Surveys Division (SSD) with a goal of creating new methods for Public Service Employee Survey (PSES) clients to consume and self-serve analyze the PSES results.

Although the working group is still young and in an exploration phase, there has been no shortage of great ideas. We have prototypes for a variety of interactive reporting and dashboard solutions which support a variety of our business processes and bring more value to our clients. These prototypes help to illustrate how quickly the working group has been able to apply what they’ve learned when there is access to modern tools and a collaborative learning environment.

In addition to being a great learning opportunity that allows everyone to better understand their business and the data behind it, this journey has empowered employees to provide clients with on-demand, insightful Business Intelligence solutions that are flexible, fun, and easy to use.

With the help of our partners in IT, we’re planning our path forward so that we may move from exploration to implementation & continuous innovation.

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