Since the COVID-19 pandemic brought new attention to the need for a “faster path to maturing data sharing protocols,” government leaders must look ahead to how data can continue to inform decision making as capabilities mature and improve, Deputy Federal CIO Maria Roat said today.

“The amount of data that was shared across the Federal government, how we use it, how we leverage each other’s capabilities was significant,” she said at FCW’s Department of Defense Cloud Workshop. “But how do we do that and how do we mature that capability, where data is frequently updated, and it’s incorporated into decision making models?”

The accelerated investments in data helped government agency use emerging technology and apply advanced analytics to inform decision making, Roat explained. Ultimately, the data investments led to improved consistency, clarity of results, project transparency, and mission stories that demonstrate value across agencies. Now, Roat is pivoting to looking ahead at how the Federal government can “continue informing decision making using better data and as we mature and improve our data capabilities.”

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Through the Federal CIO Council, Roat said that tech leaders across the government have been coming together to discuss where they should be investing IT funds to make improvements, address gaps, and move faster. When it comes to continuing data efforts, Roat said that cloud investments and the Federal Data Strategy are two ways that agencies have been able to leverage decision-making capabilities.

“The cloud, it greatly expanded agencies’ ability to support those terabytes of data collection, data warehouses without investing in hardware,” Roat explained. “This just goes back to the data conversation – you’re continuing to use that data, leveraging how we share it, and maturing. All the work around the Federal Data Strategy is key to this.”

For example, Roat reflected on her time as CIO at the Small Business Administration. She recalled when the agency’s website automatically scaled to accommodate a mass influx of users after President Trump tweeted the URL. “The cloud contributed to the need to accelerate and scale rapidly,” Roat said, to move a significant amount of data without disruption.

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