Asking data questions

Posted by Douglas Wood, Editor.  http://www.linkedin.com/in/dougwood.

A brief read and good perspective from my friend Chris Westphal of Raytheon. The article is by Anna Forrester of ExecutiveGov.com.

Federal managers should invest in technology that would help them extract insights from data and base their investment decision on the specific problems and information they want to learn and solve, Federal Times reported Friday.

Rutrell Yasin writes that the above managers should follow three steps as they seek to compress the high volume of data their agencies encounter in daily tasks and to derive value from them.

According to Shawn Kingsberry, chief information officer for the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board, federal managers should first determine the questions they need to ask of data then create a profile for the customer or target audience.

Next, they should locate the data and their sources then correspond with those sources to determine quality of data, the report said. “Managers need to know if the data is in a federal system of records that gives the agency terms of use or is it public data,” writes Yasin.

Finally, they should consider the potential impact of the data, the insights and resulting technology investments on the agency.

Yasin reports that the Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board uses data analytics tools from Microsoft, SAP and SAS and link analysis tools from Palantir Technologies.

According to Chris Westphal, director of analytics technology at Raytheon, organizations should invest in a platform that gathers data from separate sources into a single data repository with analytics tools.

Yasin adds that agencies should also appoint a chief data officer and data scientists or architects to assist the CIO and CISO on these areas.