Can a one-person data shop make a difference?

Federal Reserve CDO Micheline Casey says doing data management on the cheap is a recipe for disaster.

Shutterstock image: charting data.

In the chief data officer world there are haves and have nots.

At the Federal Reserve, CDO Micheline Casey has a team of 46 and a budget of about $12 million working on expanding the data organization, and thinking about how to incorporate new data and new information signals into economic forecasts.

At other federal agencies, the CDO is a one person show, who has to generate institutional support through their own efforts, and the backing of key leaders.

According to Casey, who pioneered the role in government serving in Colorado as the first CDO of any state, doing data management and data stewardship on the cheap is a recipe for disaster.

"The reality is, it's really difficult to do this job," Casey said at Washington, D.C., event hosted by Nextgov. "If you're going do to this job well, you need resources, you need budget. You can't be a one-person show against an organization of 2,500 or 10,000 or 50,000 or 100,000 scattered across the country, dealing with that much inertia by yourself," she said.

Federal agencies are turning to data managers as part of the overall open data policy of the Obama administration. Some, like Ian Kalin at the Department of Commerce, are recent arrivals. Others, like Niall Brennan at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, preside over mature organizations with well-defined and expanding missions. Brennan, for instance, is responsible for a growing repository of billing and treatment data that is being used to advance efficiency, effectiveness and fraud detection in health care delivery.

Not every agency needs a CDO, Casey said, but for those agencies considering adding the role, she stressed that it's important to take the post seriously.

"If you as an agency are going to bring in a chief data officer and not give them any people and not give them any money, but expect them to walk around and get people to do things, you're setting that person and your organization up for failure," Casey said. She wants to see agency leaders giving CDOs "the dollars and resources they need to do their job from an enterprise-scale perspective the same way we do with chief information officers and chief information security officers," she said.

CDOs with fewer resources have to make do by building networks across their organization. Dan Morgan is CDO at the Department of Transportation, with 10 large components and 60,000 people. He's a one-man show, but said he looks to "resources inside the organization that help support us in improving the management and accessibility and quality of our data." Speaking at a panel at the event, Morgan said he leverages working groups inside the IT organization and, more crucially, with policy people and business office leaders to understand their data and analytic needs.

Scott Shoup, CDO of the Federal Emergency Management Agency, agreed. He sees his job as promoting the use of FEMA data collection and dissemination to help organizations inside and outside the agency support disaster relief and recovery. For example, Shoup said that a big consumer of FEMA data in the future will be private-sector humanitarian groups, including small ad hoc groups that bubble up in the wake of specific disasters. "The future is making data viable to our partners," Shoup said. To accomplish this, he is working with a community of interest of about 50 staffers inside FEMA that meets monthly to share challenges and lessons learned.

"We don't necessarily envision us having an office of 100 people because what we're going to do is organize a matrix across the organization of people that are already doing these things," Shoup said. 

X
This website uses cookies to enhance user experience and to analyze performance and traffic on our website. We also share information about your use of our site with our social media, advertising and analytics partners. Learn More / Do Not Sell My Personal Information
Accept Cookies
X
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Do Not Sell My Personal Information

When you visit our website, we store cookies on your browser to collect information. The information collected might relate to you, your preferences or your device, and is mostly used to make the site work as you expect it to and to provide a more personalized web experience. However, you can choose not to allow certain types of cookies, which may impact your experience of the site and the services we are able to offer. Click on the different category headings to find out more and change our default settings according to your preference. You cannot opt-out of our First Party Strictly Necessary Cookies as they are deployed in order to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting the cookie banner and remembering your settings, to log into your account, to redirect you when you log out, etc.). For more information about the First and Third Party Cookies used please follow this link.

Allow All Cookies

Manage Consent Preferences

Strictly Necessary Cookies - Always Active

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data, Targeting & Social Media Cookies

Under the California Consumer Privacy Act, you have the right to opt-out of the sale of your personal information to third parties. These cookies collect information for analytics and to personalize your experience with targeted ads. You may exercise your right to opt out of the sale of personal information by using this toggle switch. If you opt out we will not be able to offer you personalised ads and will not hand over your personal information to any third parties. Additionally, you may contact our legal department for further clarification about your rights as a California consumer by using this Exercise My Rights link

If you have enabled privacy controls on your browser (such as a plugin), we have to take that as a valid request to opt-out. Therefore we would not be able to track your activity through the web. This may affect our ability to personalize ads according to your preferences.

Targeting cookies may be set through our site by our advertising partners. They may be used by those companies to build a profile of your interests and show you relevant adverts on other sites. They do not store directly personal information, but are based on uniquely identifying your browser and internet device. If you do not allow these cookies, you will experience less targeted advertising.

Social media cookies are set by a range of social media services that we have added to the site to enable you to share our content with your friends and networks. They are capable of tracking your browser across other sites and building up a profile of your interests. This may impact the content and messages you see on other websites you visit. If you do not allow these cookies you may not be able to use or see these sharing tools.

If you want to opt out of all of our lead reports and lists, please submit a privacy request at our Do Not Sell page.

Save Settings
Cookie Preferences Cookie List

Cookie List

A cookie is a small piece of data (text file) that a website – when visited by a user – asks your browser to store on your device in order to remember information about you, such as your language preference or login information. Those cookies are set by us and called first-party cookies. We also use third-party cookies – which are cookies from a domain different than the domain of the website you are visiting – for our advertising and marketing efforts. More specifically, we use cookies and other tracking technologies for the following purposes:

Strictly Necessary Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Functional Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Performance Cookies

We do not allow you to opt-out of our certain cookies, as they are necessary to ensure the proper functioning of our website (such as prompting our cookie banner and remembering your privacy choices) and/or to monitor site performance. These cookies are not used in a way that constitutes a “sale” of your data under the CCPA. You can set your browser to block or alert you about these cookies, but some parts of the site will not work as intended if you do so. You can usually find these settings in the Options or Preferences menu of your browser. Visit www.allaboutcookies.org to learn more.

Sale of Personal Data

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Social Media Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.

Targeting Cookies

We also use cookies to personalize your experience on our websites, including by determining the most relevant content and advertisements to show you, and to monitor site traffic and performance, so that we may improve our websites and your experience. You may opt out of our use of such cookies (and the associated “sale” of your Personal Information) by using this toggle switch. You will still see some advertising, regardless of your selection. Because we do not track you across different devices, browsers and GEMG properties, your selection will take effect only on this browser, this device and this website.