Both the Department of State and the Department of Commerce are implementing strategies to maximize the use of their data.
The State Department’s corporate data strategy, released on Monday, outlines the central role that data plays in emerging technologies and how it is needed to remain competitive against global threats.
The strategy requires better access to data across the department, more data flow across the workforce, and better governance to ensure data security.
The strategy is also related to the division’s increased focus on emerging technologies – including artificial intelligence, 5G, sensor technology and cybersecurity – as part of its diplomatic mission and as part of its goal of staying one step ahead of emerging threats. The strategy outlines four goals:
- Maintain a data culture
- Accelerate decision-making with analytics
- Establish order-oriented data management
- Establish enterprise data governance
Foreign Minister Antony Blinken gave an outlook on the data strategy in July when speaking to the National Security Commission at the Global Emerging Technology Summit on AI.
The strategy would help the department to use data âmore effectively and creatively for diplomacyâ.
âIf Netflix can predict which TV show my wife and I will watch next, I think data can help us and the department predict and how to respond to maybe the next civil war, famine, economic crisis. “More effective,” said Blinken.
The department’s Enterprise Data Council, led by Chief Data Officer Matthew Graviss, will execute the strategy. The council will keep Brian McKeon, Assistant Secretary of State for Management and Resources, regularly informed.
McKeon wrote in the strategy summary that the department must invest in recruiting and training to help employees better understand how they use and maintain data.
âOur employees need precise data to hand, where they are and when they need it. To be successful in this data-driven world, our team needs the skills, know-how and tools to turn data into insights. This mindset, of course, requires a culture shift in the department – one that has already started, âwrote McKeon.
The strategy aims to strengthen the workforce in the department by training the existing workforce and hiring them for these in-demand skills. The department will update job descriptions to reflect the expected data skills and will also create a new set of data science positions.
The strategy identifies an increased need for data from department heads to enable evidence-based decisions in the areas of diplomacy, security and human rights.
The strategy notes that the department has created nearly 900 dashboards supporting nearly 45,000 users for just one of their data visualization platforms.
âThe department must support this growing appetite for data analysis and visualization by strengthening the skills, including data analysis training, data management, governance, scientific and data integrity, storage and data sharing, to facilitate the cultural and organizational changes required to ingest data are. Make informed decisions, âsays the strategy.
Commerce data strategy underscores equity targets
The Department of Commerce, meanwhile, is making its data available to better understand how it serves the public. The department released a data strategy last week that focuses on equal opportunities challenges in job growth and the distribution of resources to underserved communities.
As part of the strategy, the ministry will hold regular summits to examine obstacles preventing greater use of federal data.
The strategy highlights the work the Census Bureau is already doing to promote equity through its Opportunity Project. The office is also working on a toolkit that will focus on correcting sources of bias in federal data.
The data strategy also includes new goals, such as the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s recent focus on space trading.
However, the strategy also aims to provide a common path for a department whose sub-agencies cover everything from the ocean floor to the surface of the sun.
With that far-reaching mission in mind, Thomas Beach, the department’s interim chief data officer, said Commerce will not attempt to build an enterprise data analytics platform across the department, but instead will focus on existing platforms that exist in various agencies.
“As a CDO, I have to constantly see where the vision is, and vision has to be about value,” Beach said during an ACT-IAC panel last week. “If I can’t deliver anything of value to the entire company, they won’t understand why I have to play with others.”
Beach said that the Commerce Data Governance Board, which created the data strategy, is serving as a sounding board for common data challenges across all of its agencies and helping to advance the mantra of Commerce Helping Commerce.
“It’s really an opportunity for other agencies to sit side by side and understand each other’s issues and understand where they’re going,” Beach said.