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MANAGEMENT UPDATE.

NEW AI TOOL TO ANALYZE PERFORMANCE DATA & TRENDS

"Public officials earnestly want to make great decisions using data, but it's really difficult to use public sector data," says Nick Mastronardi, CEO of the engagement and analytics company, Polco. 


He’s aiming to help alleviate that problem with a new artificial intelligence tool which is intended to utilize the treasure trove of public sector data that Polco has in hand, in tandem with the power of newly developed AI systems.


Dubbed “Polly”, it is designed to utilize real-time performance management data, comparisons, and historical trends to help answer pressing questions from public sector leaders.


Among its potential utilities are for strategic planning, budgeting, grant applications, performance management and more. It is currently being field tested and will begin to be available to users by May.


“In a world in which everyone seems to be using AI, what I’d like to highlight is that our AI is more than just a communications tool,” Mastronardi told us. “It is a bonified data analyst and that is the distinguishing feature. And since nobody else has all the data that we’ve accumulated, and Polly has access to all of that, it can give you fascinating trend lines and statistics about how communities are trending next to one another. It used to be just shooting in the dark. Now you can have data to quantify your performance.”



According to a March 19 Polco press release, its own 30-plus years of proprietary public opinion research, is combined with numerous datasets and analytics, largely fed by Government Performance Action & Learning (GPAL), a public data initiative and collaboration involving multiple organizations. These include National Research Center from Polco; High Road Strategy Center at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Hoover Institution at Stanford University; Arizona State University; ICMA; Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA), and the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. 


Unlike many other AI-generated answers, which can sometimes be dependent on flawed, inaccurate, or incomplete data, the information in Polco’s databases has been carefully vetted, which means that the answers you’d get from Polly are likely to be more accurate than that which you’d get when asking a similar question of the growing number of alternatives.


If you were to ask, “Hey Polly, what is the status of housing in my community,” Polly could pull answers about public housing, rent policies, homelessness, and other topics.


For example, if a city leader in Lake Geneva, Wisconsin asked Polly for information about how housing in that city compares to the rest of the state, Polly would provide data, including the housing cost burden for homeowners, the median home value compared to the rest of the state, and housing cost burden for renters compared to the state average. Taken together, the answer would show a snapshot of the housing situation in Lake Geneva, revealing that while homeownership appears to be more favorable in terms of home values compared to the state, renters face a less favorable situation with a higher burden of housing costs.”


If you’re interested in signing up for demos and updates, click here.


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