Data
Monday, March 9, 2020
The start of a new decade feels like an inflection point – a key moment - as the Federal government faces increasing pressures to deliver citizen experiences, rather than citizen services, and to do it efficiently. In this article, we explore the motivation (“why”), the destination (“what”), and the journey (“how”) that agencies will pursue in the new decade.

This post was written by guest bloggers: Justin Cole, Managing Consultant, IBM and Layne Morrison, Senior Managing Consultant, IBM

The “why”

Digital transformation drives new models of doing business – including the ‘business’ of government - as external and internal forces drive unprecedented disruption.

What differentiates this new model?

  • Outcomes and experiences, not outputs and tools, are prioritized
  • Data is a strategic asset, managed and governed throughout the entire lifecycle
  • Platforms enhance collaboration, facilitating asset reuse
  • Workflows are augmented with cognitive capabilities, optimization, and analytics
  • The delivery of IT is accelerated, and analytics are moved to the edge of the network
  • Talent management centers on continual skill enhancement

The “what”

This transformation involves a culture of agile innovation powered by an ecosystem of business platforms, enabled by cognitive enterprise workflows made possible with exponential technologies that are fueled by data on secure infrastructure.

Recent actions have signaled the Federal government’s recognition and intent to respond to this transformation. The signing of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act requires agencies to open data by default and to staff key leadership roles including a Chief Data Officer and Chief Evaluation Officer to implement these changes.

Additionally, the 2018 President’s Management Agenda laid out a new Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) goal to leverage data as a strategic asset. This goal resulted in the creation of a Federal Data Strategy and a 2020 Action Plan, which provides actionable steps to achieve the Strategy’s principles and practices.

These actions propel change within agencies such as:

  • Collaborating with leadership, a clear mandate and council governance
  • Quantifying the strategic value of data – to missions, across agencies and to the public
  • Identifying, cataloguing and controlling data with governance

The “how”

Leading commercial enterprises are taking these same, sound steps, which can be adapted by government agencies.

  • Assess the future value of data. What decisions do you want and need to make – to succeed in 5 years? How will you get there? Starting with questions like this, asked during structured interviews with key stakeholders, never fails to generate many compelling use cases.
  • Analyze the current needs and maturity of data. Understand the current state of an organization’s data and their maturity. Take a true 360-degree view of data value and maturity – not simply evaluating data quality (what we often think of as ‘data cleansing’ efforts), but also trust and utility of data as perceived by stakeholders and users throughout an organization. This enterprise-level portrait informs the technical foundation of data governance and information architecture.
  • Act. The assessment and analysis pave the way for action -- a unique roadmap – with logical guideposts that may involve platform architecture, data governance, AI-enabled workflows, or talent transformation. 

Digital transformation (the “why”) is creating the case for change, legislative and executive action (the “what”) is creating the mandate, and an approach that pairs expertise and innovative thinking from within (the “how”) is creating the path forward. We believe these steps will generate unbeatable momentum – towards more efficient management, creating new and enhanced citizen experiences and illuminating unprecedented value propositions in the way government delivers to the public.

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