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Data and the Digital Transformation in Government
Source: govloop.com
Source Date: Wednesday, May 10, 2017
Focus: Electronic and Mobile Government, Citizen Engagement, Internet Governance
Country: United States
Created: May 15, 2017

Information and data are the most valuable assets in an agency because they can help drive entire digital transformations. But managing and analyzing data can be extremely difficult due to the various layers and hybrid storage solutions used in government. Without the proper data management frameworks in place agency workforces will be unable to take advantage of insights gained from the information because they will lack the necessary data visibility, security, and analysis tools.

To learn how agencies can leverage digital data management systems for digital transformations, Mark Krzysko, Deputy Director for Enterprise Information within the Department of Defense’s Office of the Undersecretary for Acquisition, and Skip Farmer, a Field Engineering Manager at Veritas spoke during GovLoop’s recent Government Innovators virtual summit. Both experts have extensive experience using data management techniques to improve data visibility and decision-making in public sector organizations.

Krzysko began the conversation by explaining that digital transformation and data management are about more than just updating IT systems and technology. “To improve efficiency and effectiveness of data management, agencies must motivate two groups of employees; those that use the data and those that manage the data.” That means that frontline employees need to understand and utilize technical standards and protection protocols when collecting and securing data, but leadership and analysts need to understand how to interpret and manage the data so that it can provide the greatest amount of insight for decision makers.

Although most leaders in government have started to understand the value of datasets, Krzysko added that they still must realistically understand what the data can do for the organization. Those that manage the data on a daily basis must constantly educate other staff members on how to properly analyze the information and relate it back to the mission of the agency.

Farmer agreed with Krzysko on the importance of using data to empower and transform your agency’s mission critical decisions. He also added that a main challenge for agency’s trying to manage data is that it is often stored in an inefficient and costly manner. “In order to extract value from the data agencies need visibility, controlled access, and proper analysis of data.”

Agencies should increase visibility, security compliance, and control over their data by adopting enterprise data management solutions. Enterprise data management systems allow agencies to better understand what data they have and how to store and protect it in real time. Farmer compared the idea of making decisions without an enterprise understanding of the information assets being stored to agencies essentially making decisions in a dark room.

Enterprise data management can also be helpful to because it illuminates data assets there were previously overlooked by agency employees. “There is data we know exists and we can map to the mission, but there is also data we don’t think about. It may be redundant or unprotected data so we need visibility to look for data that may obstruct day-to-day operations.”
Both experts agreed that data management is crucial to digital transformation, but the complexity of data storage systems has made analysis difficult. In order to fully leverage mission critical data, agencies must employ an enterprise perspective to efficiently viewing and securing data. By implementing a unified approach to data management, agencies can digitally transform to make better organizational decisions and advance their missions.

(By Michael Steinberg)
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