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Feds advance open data roadmap despite challenges

Kenneth Corbin | Sept. 4, 2015
The DATA Act aims to bring transparency to government spending, but officials are mindful of the compliance burden and cultural challenges in effecting reform.

That way, agency CIOs can absorb the new data requirements gradually, moving toward a more agile development process that is common to the private sector, but hasn't always been embraced inside the government.

"It's a big culture change," Ho says. "Any time that you're trying to transform something it's a significant change-management challenge."

CIOs to manage transition

The DATA Act rollout aims to make federal spending data "standardized, reliable and accessible to the public" by May 2017, Ho says. In the interim, agency CIOs and other leaders will be tasked with organizing a team to manage the data transition, taking inventory of their data assets and establishing a mechanism for reporting spending data in the standardized format.

Ho says her team is working hard to achieve a user-friendly interface for the way the data will ultimately become available to researchers or developers who want to run comparative analyses that could yield new insights into how the government spends taxpayers' money, and reveal potential opportunities for cutting costs.

"We really don't want to treat this as a compliance exercise," Ho says, "because nobody has extra resources around to try to do something that does not create value for agencies."


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