Public service organizations are encouraged to believe that data analytics can transform services and organizations. Spurred on by these claims – or promises - this paper examines the implementation of a public sector-focused Office of Data Analytics in the Northeast of England. We explore the promises of data analytics and what basis these might have. Comprising of a single case study, we apply a critical lens – informed by Beer’s (2008) data gaze - to the implementation and find that there were challenges to the application of data analysis within complex societal environments. This challenge was juxtaposed with an unnerving belief – stemming from public policy and strategy - in the promises that adopting and implementing data analytics and a data platform can bring to the public sector. As a result, we present an assessment of a public sector data platform implementation where realities emerge that dismiss the promises and imaginaries that are often promoted – whilst highlighting previously cautioned “myths” and “impossibilities”.