Officials with the Treasury Department’s Bureau of the Fiscal Service (BFS) and the Agriculture Department’s Research, Education, and Economics (REE) organization explained this week how their agencies are focusing on making government data more accessible to the public.

During the Feb. 22 Digital Transformation Summit hosted by ACT-IAC and MeriTalk,

Justin Marsico, deputy assistant commissioner and chief data officer at BFS talked through use cases driven by using data to increase transparency with the public.

“The first use case I want to talk about is helping to improve our public data by taking a customer-driven approach,” he said. “The second thing I want to talk about is work that we’re doing internally to the Fiscal Service to leverage data to improve our own programs and operations.”

One of those examples, he said, can be found in how BFS has put more government data into the public realm through the and websites.

In the way of advice, Marsico also offered that “it’s really important to focus on the people in your organization and not just on the kind of standard data quality improvements and data accessibility improvements that are traditional for data officers.”

During the same panel session, Michael Valivullah, chief technology officer for REE at the Agriculture Department, talked about the importance of changing the way agencies look at data as an asset.

“We want the data available, easily available,” he said. “And it has to be transparent for the users. It should be usable [and] it should be good quality, all these criteria that you want to have.” He continued, “now we are thinking data as a product.”

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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.