Ontrack for payback

The federal government is singularly adept at creating information about a seemingly endless variety of topics. It routinely gathers certain data, such as economic or health statistics, to help develop policy. It also carefully preserves an assortment of records for historical reasons. In those cases, the purpose for collecting and keeping the information is predetermined and seldom strays from its narrow mission.

But like all large, complex organizations, the government also generates tremendous amounts of information as a byproduct of its daily operations. E-mails, inventory lists, visitor counts, equipment maintenance reports, spending records — the list goes on and on. Some information is captured, if only temporarily, while much of it is not.

Now there is a growing awareness that some of this information can be used — if identified, harnessed and placed in the proper context — to help the government operate more effectively. In fact, that is the aim of a group of analytical and information-sharing technologies known as business intelligence and knowledge management systems.

The government is no stranger to these products, having invested millions of dollars in them during the past few years alone. How to get more out of those investments is the focus of this special report.

We will explore several ways to do this in the two stories that follow and in a final story next week. The first story looks at the growing practice of applying the powerful data integration and analysis capabilities of business intelligence software to help meet the performance goals of the President's Management Agenda.

In the second story, we present practical advice based on real agency experience for getting workers to use the knowledge management systems that are cropping up across government.

In next week's issue, we will look at an emerging set of solutions for cost-effectively storing so-called fixed content, such as e-mail messages and reports.

FCW in Print

In the latest issue: Looking back on three decades of big stories in federal IT.

Featured

  • FCW @ 30 GPS

    FCW @ 30

    Since 1996, FCW has covered it all -- the major contracts, the disruptive technologies, the picayune scandals and the many, many people who make federal IT function. Here's a look back at six of the most significant stories.

  • Shutterstock image.

    A 'minibus' appropriations package could be in the cards

    A short-term funding bill is expected by Sept. 30 to keep the federal government operating through early December, but after that the options get more complicated.

  • Defense Secretary Ash Carter speaks at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco

    DOD launches new tech hub in Austin

    The DOD is opening a new Defense Innovation Unit Experimental office in Austin, Texas, while Congress debates legislation that could defund DIUx.

  • Shutterstock image.

    Merged IT modernization bill punts on funding

    A House panel approved a new IT modernization bill that appears poised to pass, but key funding questions are left for appropriators.

  • General Frost

    Army wants cyber capability everywhere

    The Army's cyber director said cyber, electronic warfare and information operations must be integrated into warfighters' doctrine and training.

  • Rising Star 2013

    Meet the 2016 Rising Stars

    FCW honors 30 early-career leaders in federal IT.

Reader comments

Please post your comments here. Comments are moderated, so they may not appear immediately after submitting. We will not post comments that we consider abusive or off-topic.

Please type the letters/numbers you see above

More from 1105 Public Sector Media Group