DATA Act May Not Require Widespread Information System Changes

January 5, 2016 | By Jerry Ashworth | Post a Comment

digital-dream-2-1456675By now we’ve all seen the U.K.-based T-shirts with the words “Keep Calm and Carry On.” Over time, the slogan has been altered in countless ways, but it always seems to start with two words, “Keep Calm.” That was my first reaction upon seeing a recent guest blog post on the Digital Transparency Council’s website concerning data systems affected by the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act).

For those that are still unfamiliar with the DATA Act, the law requires the Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to establish common data standards to govern financial and award information, including grants, that all federal agencies must report. The blog post notes that the biggest challenges when implementing and complying with the DATA Act for federal agencies lie in understanding their own financial and award information, which is often managed by multiple systems for multiple purposes.

The post discusses enterprise data assessments and creating a harmonized view of the data and the systems. Then comes the good news: “The good news is that data assessments and harmonization don’t require an agency to change or consolidate the underlying systems. System changes are expensive, and the associated risks often make them prohibitive. This approach to the DATA Act can be done in a fraction of the time and expense with minimal risk.”

However, much depends on the agency’s personnel, its processes and its current understanding of its technology. “A successful DATA Act implementation depends on the agency’s ability to manage the orchestration of specific business processes that span the data lifecycle,” the blog post explains.

The entire post offers some insightful information about the DATA Act and its influence on information systems. As we continue to move toward the full implementation of the act in a couple of years, posts such as this keep the process in perspective.

Let us know your opinions about the DATA Act and what this could mean for your technology systems.

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