Building blocks of the enterprise

INDUSTRY INSIGHT

The proper infrastructure will determine the Federal Data Strategy’s success

There is no denying the usefulness of the federal government’s troves of data. However, agencies still need guidance on how to manage and share that data -- and that is where the Office of Management and Budget’s Federal Data Strategy comes in.

Released last month, the strategy is a framework of operational principles and best practices that will help agencies to deliver on the promises of government data in the 21st century.

It is promising to see the federal government adopt a strategy that formalizes principles for development, deployment  and secure sharing of data for decision making across departments and agencies. The strategy recognizes the need to put data at the heart of decision- and policy-making while providing both transparency and equitable use of data for all federal and non-federal users, such as academics, businesses and individuals. When government data is made more accessible, discoverable and usable, it has more impact. It can lead to cost savings, efficiency, fuel for business, improved civic services, informed policy and increased public participation in the democratic dialogue.

A sound data-centric architecture is essential for data sharing, preservation, transparency and availability. As the strategy is implemented, it will help agencies provide fast and secure access to data whenever users require it. A data-centric architecture should drive application compatibility, so that data can flow easily to where it’s needed. It should have consistent application programming interfaces so that developers can build once and have a consistent way to interact with data on-premises and in the cloud. This compatibility should make secure migration of applications and data easy -- giving the data's users the freedom to run applications where they want and have the data safely follow. And finally, the right data architecture is key to future innovation.

Innovative technologies such as artificial intelligence and machine learning have the potential to transform the government landscape – and would greatly benefit from the principles laid out in the Federal Data Strategy. According to a recent study, 77% of federal IT managers say AI will change the way government thinks about and processes information, while 61% say the technology could solve one or more of the challenges their agencies face today. However, AI and ML need access to data to be successful, and agencies must have an infrastructure that can share and deliver data anywhere, any time.

The Federal Data Strategy is a key step toward enabling the government to capture value from its vast troves of data and leverage the potential of technologies such as AI and ML. It acknowledges the importance and power of this data and gives agencies a solid platform to work from. A data-centric infrastructure will be critical to the success of future projects – and should be a top consideration as agencies implement the strategy.

About the Author

Nick Psaki is principal system engineer with Pure Storage.

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