The U.S. federal government, one of the largest generators of data in the world, recently developed a data strategy and is now enacting policies to elevate data to a strategic asset.
As with any organization, the U.S. government faces challenges as it works to make better use of its data. It must build the technology infrastructure; identify, organize and catalog the data it has; digitize the data; create an analytics-ready environment and develop a culture that values data.
“You have to be able to operationalize that data or you don’t get the value from it. And that’s very difficult for any organization to do, not just the federal government,” said Steve Kearney, medical director for SAS Institute.
The expectation, according to several experts, is that the government can build the infrastructure, procedures and mindset needed to more fully utilize and share open data sets amassed by the numerous federal agencies and departments.
“It sounds like a paperwork exercise, but it actually ensures that people are all moving in the same direction for using data,” said Nick Hart, CEO of the Data Coalition, a trade association advocating for responsible policies to make government data high-quality, accessible and useable.