How will data analytics change how the U.S. government operates? The transformation is happening already, according to panelists at a recent Maryland Smith event.
The virtual event, the Future of Data Analytics in Government, brought together panelists Janice Degarmo, the director of the State Department Office of Management Strategy and Solutions; Ted Kaouk, chief data officer of personnel management and chair of the federal chief data officer council; and Monica McEwen, managing director of Deloitte’s Government and Public Services division. Each described their view of the way that data analytics are being put to work in government.
“Data and information is our currency,” Degarmo said, explaining how the State Department uses data to “make our operations smarter” and find “smarter ways to get to insights and get to actions, and for diplomacy, and foreign policy.”
Even simple data can be incredibly important. “Even very simple questions like how many vehicles does the agency have or how many employees do we have? Getting to an answer like that across all of those different agencies might have taken us weeks requiring a lot of manual data calls,” said Kaouk.
With easier access to data comes solutions for many bigger problems, as well.
“This challenge is really common across all of our administrative areas – human resources, finance, operations are really not different for our programs who are delivering support to citizens in the areas of farm loans or disaster assistance getting access to timely data for making decisions,” Kaouk added.
McEwen explained some of the ways in which data analytics played a key role in grappling with the COVID-19 pandemic. “Ted and Janice just walked through some great examples in the federal government space but local governments have been using and sharing data in ways that had not been considered before the pandemic. They're using it to track the spread of the virus in their communities, or roll out of the vaccines, et cetera,” she said.
The panelists said the fundamental role of data analytics today, in their roles, is in streamlining processes that require research and tracking. The fast pace, they said, of their data-heavy positions bring heady challenges, but also a lot of fun and innovation. Watch the recording of the panel.
–By Erica Spaeth. Spaeth is a 2023 MBA Candidate and a Forté and Smith Fellow. Originally from Potomac, Md., Spaeth worked in digital marketing, publishing, and most recently operations management, leading her to come to Maryland Smith.
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