Insight by Informatica

Feeding data products a proper diet to make government work better

Powering Federal Agencies for a Data-driven Future

Much of the focus and attention to artificial intelligence comes down to the algorithms associated with it. The accuracy of the AI depends on the data feeding it.

In the 21st century, many people say data is the new gold, which is why the government is investing in getting its data organized and outlining a strategy for its future use.

Informatica Chief Public Sector Strategist Mike Anderson says the government needs to maintain a “trinity” around data to keep information flowing and to feed technologies like artificial intelligence that will keep the United States’ technological edge, but that is reliant on the government’s data strategy.

That trinity is a set of interlocking advancements: AI, cloud and data itself.

AI needs clean, reliable data to work in an ethical, precise and progressive way.

“Much of the focus and attention to artificial intelligence comes down to the algorithms associated with it,” Anderson said. “The accuracy of the AI depends on the data feeding it.”

And, of course, that data needs to be safe and accessible to AI by some sort of cloud.

“It takes massive amounts of data to train an algorithm to actually come up with some type of level of intelligence that will automate processes,” Anderson said. “The only way to do that is to feed the algorithm massive amounts of data. You can only do that efficiently and effectively in a cloud type of environment.”

The government is banking on AI as a game changer for everything from business processes to warfare and it’s making investments to show that.

But, how can the United States keep improving its data for algorithms to use, and therefore make AI more advanced?

The Federal Data Strategy was created to leverage the value of data for mission service and public good. While it’s made some strides in the past year, Anderson says there is more that can be done going forward to keep improving the government’s use of data.

“This year is a tremendous opportunity, because we’ve learned a lot of lessons from COVID-19 in terms of what data can do to drive good policy decisions that affect the economy and all of our lives,” Anderson said. “There’s two focus areas that are going to be pretty important moving forward and to build upon the year one action plan.”

The first is data governance.

“Freedom really comes from ensuring data governance is available across agencies,” Anderson said. “It starts at the Office of Management and Budget, which had a task essentially from the act, to make sure that they were able to apply policies, establish a common interoperability of data and to make sure that those policies could be monitored from a data privacy standpoint.”

Anderson said governance is about setting up a framework that offers freedom to consumers so they can get the job done. At this point, governance should be automated.

Knowing where your data is, how it’s collected, how it’s cataloged, that you can trust it, who are the owners of that data, who’s responsible for what, and then making sure it can be shared across an organization and it’s trusted are all important parts of making data-hungry products work.

The strategy also needs proper funding to move the data strategy further.

Anderson said deploying metrics on how the strategy is evolving will help drive a reliable budget.

“OMB could take a look at this with their Chief Data Officer Council and their own data governance board in developing a set of metrics and scorecards for agencies on the completion of the actions and tasks in the yearly action plans,” Anderson said. “Making that scorecard public will also drive all of the agencies leadership to pay attention to what’s especially important with the transition of the administration today, and also driving the need for identifying that budget requirement to really get this on steroids and move out.”

Featured speakers

  • Michael Anderson

    Chief Strategist, Public Sector, Informatica

  • Scott Maucione

    Defense Reporter, Federal News Network

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