Six actions for federal agencies to prepare for the DATA Act

Six actions to prepare for the DATA Act

With the adoption of data standards and the May 9, 2017 deadline approaching, now is the time to prepare for the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act) and future reporting requirements. If approached with the proper objectives, federal agencies can do more than simply comply with the DATA Act.

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Federal leaders have the opportunity to provide their agencies with value that will extend far beyond the DATA Act. By completing these six activities, agencies will make marked progress toward being a high-performing organization.

1. Get the right people in the room.
Engage key stakeholders as early as possible including executives, technical
and systems experts, policy experts, and business process and operations
experts. These stakeholders can discuss roles and responsibilities for DATA
Act implementation and answer key questions facing the agency.

2. Prepare to govern in a new way.
Establish data management, data collection, and data analytics policies and
standard operating procedures that will facilitate consistency and support the
agency in its efforts to improve the quality of financial and grants
reporting.

3. Know the data.
In order to accomplish a future state, there must be a comprehensive
understanding of the current state of the agency’s systems, business
processes, operations, and data, including a detailed landscape of the data
flows and data validation processes across the functional lines of business. A
standardized nomenclature can be adopted to reduce confusion. Perform an
inventory of agency data, processes, and systems to address gaps and inconsistencies across the agency’s lines of business and existing silos.

4. Prove reliance and increase use.
Leverage the CFO Act and other existing data “crossovers” to broaden the
spectrum of agency and DATA Act reporting. Data quality and compliance assessments using the agency’s data can help establish thresholds for completeness, timeliness, and accuracy of data reporting. 

5. Implement IT tools.
The implementation of information technology tools is integral to the success
of DATA Act compliance which agencies should expect to take time to align data with the finalized DATA Act taxonomy. Technology tools available to help agencies accelerate their options to implementation include collaboration tools, process and value assessment tools, and road map assessment tools.

6. Achieve “true” value from your investment.
The DATA Act is intended to support better accountability and transparency in
government and the improvement in efficiency and effectiveness of government programs. The DATA Act could significantly improve the capabilities of federal manager and establish their agencies as high-performing organizations.

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