MITRE Corp., which operates Federally-funded R&D centers focusing on science and tech issues, said in a new survey this week that the Federal government would benefit from further empowering its chief data officers.

The report’s findings come in part from MITRE’s survey of 22 Federal CDOs that included a look at maturity models on data management and the ability to implement artificial intelligence (AI) technologies.

“Data provides the underpinnings of any AI or analytics solution, the CDO must pursue every avenue available to improve the visibility, availability, and quality of data for their organization,” MITRE said.

“We discovered through our survey that most CDOs are facing challenges that prevent them from leading their agency’s strategic objectives around data,” the organization emphasized.

The report found that all of the CDOs have a data strategy that they are looking to implement within their agencies, but continue to face challenges.

“Empowering and investing in the CDO provides the opportunity for them and their agency’s data experts to collectively tackle [these] problems,” MITRE said.  

Other findings from the report include:

  • Five of six “model” CDO organizations have the authority to enforce data management standards and otherwise operate as data leaders;
  • Capabilities for providing data support services for the organizations are performed by model CDOs at twice the rate of CDO organizations classified as “challenged”;
  • Long-term CDOs more frequently perform capabilities tied to more established data-related directives and laws, and are less likely to support newer initiatives in comparison with short-term CDOs with less than six months in their role;
  • The CDO placement survey questions yielded unexpected results: half of both model and “improving” CDOs report to their agency chief information officers, and half are a peer to the CIO or otherwise positioned at a high level in the organization;
  • Across all CDOs surveyed, data governance was the most common area of strength reported, largely for the opportunity to engage with stakeholders.
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Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon
Jose Rascon is a MeriTalk Staff Reporter covering the intersection of government and technology.