This month the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) is planning to release the Federal Data Strategy 2021 Action Plan, which will have an emphasis on maturing data governance and management. Carrying the momentum built in 2020, agencies—especially those with less mature data strategies—will work to excel in data-driven initiatives and use.
“This past year, agencies have dedicated time and effort executing on 20 action items outlined within year one of the action plans,” explained Chief Federal Technologist, Nick Speece, Snowflake. “In 2021, agencies will tackle other action items but largely work to achieve the overall goal of functioning as a more mature data-driven government.”
Despite facing various challenges in 2020, agencies stood up to the OMB Federal Data Policy Committee Data Ethics Framework and the Data Protection Toolkit. Additionally, they held the inaugural Federal CDO Council meeting. Now that the foundation has been laid, agencies can focus on the overarching goal of maturing data governance.
According to Melissa Harris in an article for GovernmentCIO, Deputy Federal Chief Information Officer, Maria Roat, Office of Management and Budget, “envisions a number of ways to accelerate less mature agencies forward, especially in interagency collaboration and information-sharing. Roat sees federal interagency councils (like the Federal CDO Council) as key players in disseminating best practices, maintaining communication across leadership, and fostering an educational environment.”
“Looking at the maturity gaps and continuing to fill those and bringing in that data and infrastructure maturity within their environments—what does that maturity model look like for agencies?” explained Roat. “They’ve done some work on that, but continue to finish that initial assessment, build that data strategy, those roadmaps, and moving into a plan for those data assets. I think this is part of getting to a master data management program, if you will, adopting what that is and continuing to build.”
However, there are often obstacles on the road to data maturity. A critical need for achieving data maturity is the ability to connect siloed data, easily discover and securely share governed data within and across agencies, and execute diverse analytic workloads. When data is made accessible securely, that’s when agencies can mature their data management and overall data governance practices while staying in line with the Federal Data Strategy.
In 2020, agencies largely met the actions of the 2020 plan. In 2021, they will shift their focus from checking off community-based and shared items on the action plan to working on maturing overall data governance. And, as Roat said, that will be best achieved through better communication and data education. With mature data governance supported by agencies and their leadership, they’re well on their way to data excellence and continued mission success.
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