New budget cycle analytics solution at Philippines’ DBM

Richard E. Moy

The Philippines’ Department of Budget and Management (DBM) has developed a Budget Cycle Analytics (BCA) business intelligence solution to provide budget analysts with an analytics tool for better financial and physical performance analysis and decision-making.

DBM undersecretary and chief information officer Richard E. Moya said the BCA is important to ensure transparency and accountability in the use government funds for the public good.

“In the age of Open Data wherein we are advocating for the openness and accessibility of government data for the wider public’s knowledge and consumption, the BCA raises the level of business intelligence in the way we do things at DBM,” Moya said.

The project received technical assistance from the Philippines-Australia Public Financial Management Program (PFMP).

Daniel Featherstone, PFMP team leader and Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) Counsellor, said, “This is an important project for PFMP in our objective to build the base for helping DBM transform its decision-making capabilities by making use of analytics.

“This is a high focus area for us as we help DBM move towards the use of analytics to efficiently analyse the data, gain actionable insights, and make better informed decisions based on a logical analysis of the use of budget,” said Featherston.

The BCA solution

DBM analysts use information from historical data, budget proposals, and in-year reporting to ensure performance is in line with the government’s fiscal and sectoral policies. However, in the past, a lack of reliable data and a powerful and user-friendly IT tool have been cited as key reasons for an inability to manipulate and analyse data to support decision-making.

The BCA BI solution was developed to address this problem, and help budget analysts to analyse the data, and aid in sound decision-making to improve the government’s allocation and operational efficiency and service delivery.

The solution went live on 20 January, and uses the Pentaho enterprise edition as an business analytics platform for the implementation of the BCA. It can load, organise and consolidate UACS-based data on the budget preparation, legislation, execution, and accountability phases of the budget cycle.

It will provide a web-based portal with graphic and interactive tools for business analytics questioning, reporting, ad hoc queries, and dashboards for in-year and multi-year financial and physical performance analysis and decision-making based on multiple dimensions.

Pentaho specialist Tenth Planet was contracted by PFMP for the development of BCA.

Training users

For the first phase of the project, 30-40 registered users will be actively using the BCA solution, with 15 of the DBM core team trained in January.

Senior department officials will also be able to gain a quick overview of the budget and other relevant data through real-time access to dashboards.

PFMP plans to provide mentoring support for selected Budget Management Bureau (BMB) units as the use of the BCA solution gains traction, to strengthen the performance focus of their decision-making and dialogue with agencies.

The training will also assist analysts to prepare for the 2017 budget preparation process, including helping to ensure availability of key data that will be relevant to decision-making.