Launched in December 2019 by the Office of Management and Budget (OMB), the Federal Data Strategy 2020 Action Plan aims to “identify initial actions for agencies that are essential for establishing processes, building capacity, and aligning existing efforts to better leverage data as a strategic asset.”As a result, there has been a tangible evolution in the overall data culture in government – though there are still some challenges in terms of fully embracing data and breaking down today’s information silos.
This was the key theme of a recent Government Technology Insider podcast interview with Nick Speece, Chief Federal Technologist for Snowflake, who discussed the evolution of the government data culture and offered data-driven uses cases about how a “single source of truth” can help to negate today’s data challenges
“The data culture has changed immensely over the past nine to twelve months,” said Speece. “For a very long time, the culture was very static and hard to negotiate. With the federal data strategy, the creation of the chief data officer role, and outside influences like the pandemic, we have seen the data culture change very quickly.”
Much of this change is being driven by rapid changes in the healthcare arena. “The data is changing how we approach many things, such as in research and development, in healthcare,” added Speece. “It’s all about the accessibility of data for helping to find a vaccine for COVID-19, and this will be applied to all illnesses and diseases on a global level.”
On the defense side, data is playing a further role in enhancing overall operational and mission success. “Much like healthcare, we see a similar condition that needs to be treated, whether it’s an IED in a roadway in Afghanistan or cancer in Omaha, Nebraska. We have to get away from data silos, and collaborate across branches of the military in order for all of us to benefit from what data can provide.”
Innovation, collaboration, and a single source of data truth will all help to breakdown today’s data silos in government. “It’s not just about ‘my data … in my silo … telling my story,’” said Speece. “It’s really about government experts collaborating to build a truly global single source of truth. Snowflake has been building this a long time with our Data Cloud. It’s all about getting the right information to the right people to make the right decision at the right time.”
Listen to the full episode below: