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FCW : April 30, 2015
Trevino’s group has fully embraced the analytics culture. It uses a system that pulls information from multiple sources into an interactive, dynamic platform where business users and decision makers can dynamically view manpower, capabilities and missions together. The goal is to enhance situational awareness at the strategic level. “We want to be able to answer the fundamental questions at all times without a dependency on IT: Where are my people? What are they doing? Do we have our top-tier talent working on game-changing technologies? Are we deployed properly?” The culture of analytics is spreading to other parts of the DOD as well. For example, the Army is piloting a program called Automated Continuous Evaluation System that analyzes dozens of social media, government and commercial data to identify employees or potential employees with troubling issues. By flagging these people as quickly as possible, the Army hopes to avert security concerns before they become reality. Creating an analytics culture Providing data analytics tools to a handful of data specialists is a good first step, but it does not create an analytics culture. That has to come from the top. Many agencies have taken that step by appointing chief data officers to spearhead the mission. The White House appointed DJ Patil as the government’s Chief Data Scientist, sending the message that the government has embraced a data-driven culture. Agencies must also find ways to fully embrace the culture change. Flowing down from the CDO, department heads must lead by example, incorporating data discovery into every decision. Start small with pilots to demonstrate the value of combining analytics with decision making, and build from there. A recent survey by A.T. Kearney and Carnegie Mellon University found that organizational leaders who concentrate more on collaboration, instilling confidence in their teams and developing an active analytics community, get more value than those who focus solely on technology. The last part of creating an analytics culture is using the right tools. Data discovery tools like those offered by Qlik can help agencies foster the analytics culture. With these tools, decision makers can turn data to actionable information through interactive dashboards that allow them to drill in many different directions, changing paths to answer new questions as they emerge. Most importantly, don’t be afraid to try something new. “Don’t be afraid to fall—just fall forward,” Trevino said. “We have made numerous mistakes in our analytics and business intelligence efforts. We just make it a policy to fall forward. You can’t make tomorrow better if you keep doing what you did yesterday and you’re afraid to move forward.” EXECUTIVE INSIGHTS: DATA MANAGEMENT SPONSORED CONTENT Over the past six years, the federal government has made great strides in managing, sharing and analyzing data. Data has become so overwhelmingly important that many agencies—from the Departments of Transportation and Commerce to the Federal Communications Commission, the U.S. Drug Administration, and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services— have appointed their own chief data officers (CDOs). Unlike agency CIOs, which manage large IT organizations, CDOs are solely responsible for data analytics initiatives, policies and governance. The CDO is the steward of an agency’s data assets and thus should continue to learn and expand ways leveraging solutions that allow an agency to securely and strategically maximize data’s potential. In a telling development, the White House named DJ Patil the country’s first Chief Data Scientist and Deputy Chief Technology Officer for Data Policy— essentially, the federal CDO. Patil plans to find ways to provide maximum social return on federal data, create nationwide data policies, and establish best practices for data management. The trend toward CDOs, and Patil’s appointment in particular, is a strong signal of a permanent change in the way data is viewed and used in government. Not only does it show government’s dedication to the role of data, but it is a major step toward open analytics and a true culture of analytics. The Rise of the Federal Chief Data Officer For more information, please visit Qlik.com/analyticsculture.
April 15, 2015
May 15, 2015