Fed CDOs Making Progress Amid Lingering Challenges, Survey Finds

A new survey found that Federal chief data officers are showing signs of progress in implementing their new responsibilities, while challenges to the full scope of their missions remain.

The Effective Data Governance: A Survey of Federal Chief Data Officers report – jointly conducted by the Data Foundation, Grant Thornton Public Sector LLC, and Qlik – surveyed current Federal CDOs to determine the state of their roles following enactment of the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act last year that mandates Federal government data management modernization.

The report identifies four top challenges facing the CDO community including:

  1. Organizational change management;
  2. Defining the CDO role;
  3. Prioritizing available resources; and
  4. Executing data governance deliverables.

“A growing cohort of CDOs are striving to make the data governance function not just a legal requirement, but one that is embedded into agency cultures and practices,” the report says. “While risks facing the CDO community are real, the potential for strengthening agency performance is great.”

While there are challenges that remain, the survey was able to identify progress made by CDOs. According to the assessment, more than half of the CDOs surveyed reported improvements in data quality (64 percent), assessment of staff capabilities and needs (57 percent), migration to cloud-based services (57 percent), and availability of metadata (54 percent).

Additionally, the survey found that 71 percent of CDOs surveyed plan to further advance data inventories, and 64 percent intend to improve data quality. A majority of CDOs (54 percent) say “they know what is expected and how they will be successful in their position.”

“Clear and consistent understanding of CDO successes, challenges, and opportunities is necessary for government leaders and non-governmental partners in order to support the growing CDO community and efforts to use data more strategically,”  the report says.

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