ASG Perspectives

Blog > January 2020 > Meeting the Federal Data Modernization Challenge

Meeting the Federal Data Modernization Challenge

Even the U.S. federal government is experiencing data-related growing pains. Government agencies are straining to modernize their information management systems and make more effective use of their data. The primary challenges have been:
  1. Cataloging the nature, value and trustworthiness of the data they create
  2. Knowing where their data resides
  3. Understanding how data flows and is transformed from one application/system to another, who is using it and how
To address this problem, the 2019 President’s Management Agenda (PMA) put information technology and a modern workforce at the center of its initiative to deliver visibly better results to the public. The vision is to serve the public in ways that meet their expectations and keep sensitive data and systems secure. It’s a great vision – but how is it to be fulfilled?

The U.S. federal government defined a Cross-Agency Priority Goal, which, among other objectives, aims to leverage data as a strategic asset to develop and implement a comprehensive Federal Data Strategy. Now agencies must meet new mandates, as outlined in the Federal Data Strategy action plan, to standardize and share their data, such as:
  • Maintaining a comprehensive inventory of datasets
  • Making administrative records accessible electronically
  • Prioritizing leadership on data quality and use
  • Extending data privacy and risk practices
In December last year, the U.S. Office of Management and Budget (OMB) released the finalized 2020 Action Plan laying out how to implement the Federal Data Strategy over the next decade. The plan identifies 20 initial actions across 3 categories: “Agency Action” (single agency), “Community of Practice” actions (taken by a specific agency/group of agencies related to a common topic), and “Shared Solution” actions (government-wide data services representing discrete pilot projects/efforts led by a single agency or existing council for the benefit of all agencies). Now, kicking off 2020, the goals have been laid out, but the agencies—like all organizations dealing with data challenges—still need the right digital tools to make those actions a reality.

ASG Data Intelligence™ (DI) delivers the capabilities needed to realize this type of strategy. ASG DI offers automated data inventory, identification of sensitive data types, technical and business metadata management, data lineage, a business glossary, data governance and impact analysis. In fact, ASG DI has pervasive value across the whole range of actions.

Check out how DI capabilities directly map to the needs of the 2020 Action Plan:

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Sample ASG Data Intelligence Support of OMB 2020 Actions

The ASG Data Intelligence Maturity Model

There’s an underlying key to completing many of these actions: they depend on a reliable inventory of trustworthy data—which is a key capability of the ASG DI solution, and the essential first stage in the ASG DI Maturity Model. It offers detailed coverage of more than 100 of the most frequently deployed data and application management technologies for inventory and discovery.
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The ASG Data Intelligence Maturity Model


The second stage of the maturity model—contextualization—attaches business context to data by relating DI business glossary definitions of terms, processes and organization to data assets. It’s a key requirement for actions such as identifying data needs to answer priority agency questions and identifying priority data assets for agency open data plans. The related DI privacy management capabilities, including the automated identification of personal data and management of Privacy Impact Assessments, contribute to the “Develop a Data Protection Toolkit” action.

Inventory and contextualization are the key stages that scope data to be governed. It’s the third stage, providing the “nuts and bolts” of the institutionalized data governance that agencies are required to implement.
Ultimately, the full range of ASG DI capabilities will be required in the enhanced data management tool to be piloted as a Shared Solution in 2020.

That said, this initiative is relevant to all organizations—not just government agencies. The Federal Data Strategy epitomizes to the need to modernize, to make data management a priority, and the critical role that data intelligence capabilities play in that journey.

For more about the Federal Data Strategy action plan, read this report by FedScoop.

For details of ASG’s Data Intelligence Maturity Model, download our “The Journey to Realizing Full Value from Your Data” infographic and this whitepaper.