Research Center Releases Big Data Report

December 17, 2015
By George I. Seffers
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ATARC offers recommendations to aid government big data strategies.


The Advanced Technology Academic Research Center (ATARC), Ashburn, Virginia, has released a report, "Harnessing Big Data within the Federal Government – Findings and Recommendations of ATARC’s Big Data Innovation Lab," which offers five recommendations for government to consider while developing big data strategies.

The recommendations are:

  1. Create a data-centric culture – Build a teaming environment among all chief data officers (CDOs), including federal and agency CDOs, and also build a sharing culture that focuses on end-user benefits, sets expectations, and establishes internal champions.
  2. Empower agency CDOs – Develop a strategic plan to capitalize on respective agency data that includes governance, security, data models, access and analytic tools; define an agile program to bring value to the agency and implement cross-agency data safeguarding standards.
  3. Enable data-driven decision making – Ensure the available data add value to the decisions being made, ensure the data are of appropriate quality to the decisions being made and develop metrics for assessing quality and value.
  4. Focus on improving services, creating efficiencies and meeting mission – Determine what agency data to use and how to use it, identify the economic impact of opening specific datasets and use data to improve citizens’ online service experience.
  5. Use the right technology – Automate data collection and aggregation to reduce costly manual workload, eliminate errors and ensure trust.

The report is the result of a collaboration of government, industry and academia members who will tackle critical issues around big data’s application with the government. 

The group also determined four key big data objectives: define big data; identify the challenges big data presents; develop strategies to surmount challenges; and harness big data to make better decisions. In addition, the group addressed crucial big data issues such as: data as an asset; data as a catalyst; extracting value from data; role of the chief data officer; data infrastructure; and safeguarding federal data.

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