Official: Upcoming Data Strategy Shouldn’t Mean More Work for Feds

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The strategy’s action items will focus on how agencies can make better use of the data and programs already in place.

The upcoming federal data strategy will have specific action items agencies can begin working on right away but it’s not intended to lead to more work for federal employees, according to one official.

Treating data as a strategic asset is one of three pillars supporting the President’s Management Agenda and a cross-agency team of technology and data leads is working on a comprehensive strategy for agencies to follow. That strategy currently rests on 10 principles and includes 47 draft practices that, when finalized, will be a list of actions for agencies to begin working on immediately.

While data is just one pillar of the administration’s management agenda, “data is where it all comes together,” White House Leadership Development Fellow Jay Huie said.

Huie, who previously served as director of the cloud security portfolio at the General Services Administration’s Technology Transformation Services, has joined the Office of Management and Budget-based team that will formulate the data strategy. Most of that work will focus on concrete actions agencies can take to make better use of their data.

“There’s very little major policy that needs to be done,” Huie said during a keynote at a data summit Tuesday hosted by the Advanced Technology Academic Research Center. “We have a lot of work around data. I think what we’re seeing now is this move to action.”

In practice, the data strategy team wants the action items to be “aspirational” but achievable and built on projects and practices already in effect at agencies.

“The thing we try to do is create medium-term activities” that won’t take decades to accomplish, Huie said. “These are things that agencies are grappling with already and are working toward. This is about aligning and saying, ‘You two agencies are both working on the same thing.’ And many hands make light work for all of us.”

And while agencies are mandated to treat data as an asset, the strategy itself will be more of a guidepost, Huie said.

“There’s no heavy stick in this. It’s about building that collaborative focus so that these data practitioners can try to mobilize what they’re doing.”

Throughout his talk, Huie was adamant about getting input from the stakeholders in the room, including federal employees.

“Comment on this. Help us understand what it is we know and what we don’t know,” he said.

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