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Digital Modernization

Cloud Shift Causing Government Leaders to Rethink Value of Data

Paradigm shift

Cloud Shift Causing Government Leaders to Rethink Value of Data

Federal agencies’ widespread acceptance of the cloud has not only resulted in improvements in data management but has also caused many senior leaders to reassess the value of data available to them, an official close to the matter said. Brian Merrick, head of cloud programs at the Department of State, said the cloud push has caused officials to see data as the sort of lowest common denominator and most important asset in an IT environment.

Whereas in the past, data was seen as mere digital records of the agency’s affairs, senior leadership today is beginning to look at data as an asset that can be used to advance agency goals, Merrick said. The change in their thinking is largely attributable to the shift from data tied to applications to those where data can freely flow between applications, Fedscoop reported Tuesday.

Beyond just ushering in an open architecture environment, the cloud also introduced additional benefits of data integration and sharing, speed of delivery, and evidence-based decision-making, Merrick said. The realization that high quality data can be accessed so quickly, thus aiding in smooth operations, is causing many senior officials to ask for more services, he added.

Ranking agency officials who have gotten a taste of using data to add new value or make better decisions eventually become “hooked,” Merrick said. The change in the way government policy-makers value data represents a “huge change” in the bureaucracy, he further added.

With the cloud, the old model wherein data is tightly linked to a particular application has become a thing of the past. Instead, agencies are now reaping the benefits of being able to share data between different environments. Such changes have elevated data to being an IT department issue to being a senior management concern, Merrick concluded.

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Category: Digital Modernization

Tags: Brian Merrick cloud data Department of State digital modernization FedScoop