Deputy Director for Management at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Margaret Weichert praised the value of data management and public-private partnerships to improve Federal government service delivery at ACT-IAC’s Data Driven Decision-Making Forum on Nov. 22.

“Data is the lifeblood of how we do delivery of the services … but it’s also about looking at data as a strategic asset,” Weichert said. “We are finally, in government, understanding that data is at the heart of everything we do – along with people and technology,” she added.

The deputy director thanked the audience for their feedback on the Federal Data Strategy draft and said that the final version should be released in mid-December. “Data had languished as a subset under IT modernization for far too long,” Weichert asserted.

A reliable, available, and extendable data pool is necessary to make good decisions, she said, and data management does not always fall under the IT realm. With data governance, for example, “It’s really important that the people who provide the data have a stake and feel empowered and impacted around permissions for their data,” Weichert shared.

In other cases, data remains linked with IT modernization. “A lot of the quality and hygiene factors around data are things we have not yet got in a smooth, running factor and its tied in very closely with IT modernization questions,” Weichert said.

As the Federal government continues its data journey, Weichert recommends looking to the private sector. “Commercialization of data is absolutely something that’s critically important,” the deputy director explained, “We, as the Federal government, have the largest data sets and they don’t have to be personally identifiable to be useful.”

“We called out data as one of the areas of investment that we would like to see more public, private, and academic interaction to push the ball forward,” Weichert said.

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Katie Malone
Katie Malone
Katie Malone is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.