4 Recommendations for a Strong Federal Data Strategy

Bruce Rolff/Shutterstock.com

We can expand upon the recommended actions to ensure federal agencies leverage data to advance their missions.

In June, the Office of Management and Budget unveiled its draft Year-1 Federal Data Strategy Action Plan, intended to enhance how we leverage the value of federal data for mission and citizen services, nationally. 

The plan is strong and represents a big step in the right direction, but there are ways to expand upon the recommended actions to ensure federal agencies leverage data to advance their missions, manage data efficiently, and protect data from unethical or criminal abuse. Here are four recommendations to consider before the plan is finalized next month.

1. Establish a cross-office reference data standard working group within the first year. 

A cross-office reference data standard working group would improve the key identifiers and linkage data elements—such as federal agency/office organizational hierarchy, federal program codes including National Disaster Recovery program identifiers, and federal open standard for entity identification—that connect multiple data sets to address key agency questions and meet stakeholder needs. Data would be better aggregated across multiple business lines, whether financial management, human resources or procurement, and could be tagged with codes that would enable program lifecycles to be tracked.

Collaborative oversight would be key to success. The Treasury Department, already experienced in implementing the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act, would assume responsibility for creating the working group, while the OMB Data Council would govern the working group and coordinate across agencies to assure data is high-quality and facilitates use, access, sharing and interoperability. 

2. Develop an authoritative catalog for federal data standards to be published at DataStandards.gov. 

Building upon Action 8, “Pilot standard data catalogs for Data.gov,” we recommend creating a central catalog that would provide the authoritative platform for browsing cross-office data standards, unlocking the power that resides within federal data. 

This catalog will ensure all agencies are able to reference existing standards when making data decisions instead of defaulting to creating new ones, thereby, reducing inconsistency and ensuring all data is managed, protected and leveraged in an appropriate and efficient way. Statutory offices would collaborate to set cross-office data standards that support government-wide data services. The platform should be designed to be easy to adopt, with user-friendly features and navigation.

3. Pilot a data-sharing platform for financial management through FinancialManagement.Data.Gov. 

Data sharing is essential to ensure multiple agencies can leverage the same data sets to advance their individual agency missions. Piloting a data-sharing platform would not only streamline access to key financial management data—in everything from accounting and revenue collection to debt management, investment services and payments—but also champion its use and expedite the sharing of data.

The platform would be granted agency access, protect data and host data capabilities. The platform would also leverage agency data required by statute—such as the DATA Act—as well as existing data collected by Treasury’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service. If launched successfully in year one for the financial management data, we believe the architecture and platform would be extensible to other domains across the government.

4. Make certain agencies consider the matter of data transparency in selecting what data they need. 

Government data can be equally effective for all citizens only if transparency is scrupulously maintained. Making data open to the public empowers citizens to make decisions based on the data. Ensuring that it is updated regularly and is current ensures those decisions can be made on an ongoing basis. 

The government should consolidate the draft plan’s Action 15, “Identify data needs to answer key questions,” and Action 16, “Identify priority datasets for open data platforms,” to help guarantee that agencies consider data transparency at the time they select their data needs. As agencies inventory their data, they should at the same time determine if it should be made public for the public good. A mechanism to compile, share and prioritize cross-agency data needs would also be developed – an approach that could deliver new insights, promote sharing and inform data needs. 

As the Federal Data Strategy continues to take shape, input from across government and industry is important to ensure the approach is optimized for success. These four recommendations can help further advance OMB’s data goals and improve the way information is managed across agencies to better serve citizens today and in the future.

Dan Tucker is a vice president at Booz Allen Hamilton specializing in digital strategy and transformation.

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.