The Clearing’s own Nathan Toronto and Kat Rocha had the privilege of attending the 930gov Conference, the longest-running, multi-sponsored conference and trade show for government IT professionals in the Washington, D.C., area. This conference served as an opportunity for public sector IT professionals to hear thought leaders present best leadership strategies, case study findings, and potential solutions to current IT modernization challenges.
Data-driven decision-making, IT modernization, and an enrolled and skilled workforce remain hot topics among federal government leaders, and there was no shortage of interesting discussions. In case you couldn’t make it to the conference, here are Nathan and Kat’s top takeaways from the event.
Federal Data Strategy Making Waves
The Federal Data Strategy and the Evidence Act have given government officials the top cover and opportunity to create more coherent data standards, which will be key for the future of governance. Here are a few examples:
- At the FAA, the Evidence Act has contributed to a cultural change, with greater incorporation of data folks earlier in decision-making.
- CISA has created a data framework for federal agencies to make mandatory reports on cyber incidents.
- The USPTO has used data transformation to consolidate on-prem and off-prem infrastructure to operate more efficiently.
Data Management as a Competitive Tool
Federal officials are seeing data management needs evolve. However, there are more people who manage data than have the resources and authority to make the digital transformation changes necessary. Leaders believe the conversation around data management is going to shift radically in the next three years. U.S. adversaries are moving faster in cyber strategy and federal leaders see data management as a key tool in staying in the quest to stay ahead of them. There was also a lot of talk about measurement as a key element of data management success. The mantra we heard: If you measure it, it is more likely to get done.
Technology Changes = Culture Changes
The changes in data strategy and management are also driving a culture transformation in the Federal workforce.
- The FAA has realized it cannot buy its way out of data challenges. Instead, it is increasingly relying on university certificate programs — which are more economical than internally developed curricula — to better equip its own workforce to solve them. Leadership is going as far as creating cohorts of employees to learn during work hours.
- At OPM, updated data scientist position descriptions are helping incentivize human capital development in data; likewise, DoD recognizes that it needs to recruit individuals with passion and vision for data-driven decision-making to drive long-term effectiveness.
- The Treasury Department’s Fiscal Service has developed a plan to improve data and data architecture, up-skill its workforce to create a data-centric culture change, and deploy analytics that transform its business.
It’s exciting to see the federal government at the forefront of the data revolution and making a digital transformation. From turning the government into a better place to work to improving government customer experience, better use of data is making a difference. If you or your organization is struggling to identify or execute a modern data strategy into IT modernization, we’d love to chat. Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org; Kat is available at email@example.com.