Two new laws provide enhanced public access to Federal agency information and call for improvements to the way data is captured and analyzed. Agency Chief Data Officers (CDOs) face challenges and opportunities as they implement these new requirements. There are four actions that agencies can take to quickly comply with new mandates while making broader enhancements to data management capabilities—and they can be done inexpensively. So, what are the requirements of these new laws?

OPEN Government Data Act

The Open, Public, Electronic, and Necessary (OPEN) Government Data Act requires that Federal agencies appoint a qualified Chief Data Officer (CDO).  CDOs will serve as the lead for agency data lifecycle. Certain agency data assets must be made publicly accessible and available as machine-readable data. This means data must be in an open readable format and under open licenses. CDOs will be responsible for collecting, managing and storing agency data. They will also be responsible for analyzing and building insights from that data to better inform agency decision-makers and business practices. This will be a challenge as agency data systems are often disjointed and sometimes duplicative. 

21st Century IDEA

The 21st Century Integrated Digital Experience Act—”21st Century IDEA”, requires that agency websites and the data systems that feed them, meet eight criteria by the end of 2019. The criteria require, in part, that website and app users have search capabilities of website content and that data is under industry standard encryption. 

Improvements for FOIA

Agencies will need to develop systems that enable CDOs to manage data in smarter ways for public and internal consumption. While these new requirements are designed to enhance public access and data analytics, they also present opportunities for CDOs to offer improvements to agency Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) processes. Agencies are required under law to respond to FOIA requesters within 21 days, but few agencies can comply. The existence of multiple disparate agency data systems and that some information remains in hard copy, present challenges to improving FOIA efficiency. With new data management capabilities on the way, proper configuration can significantly improve FOIA productivity and save agencies costs over the long-term. There are four actions that agencies and CDOs can take to quickly and inexpensively bring agencies into compliance and improve FOIA processes:

  • Capture and Convert Non-Electronic Data: Not all agency information is electronic, but hard copy can be converted easily. This will reduce duplication and make additional data accessible to the public in machine-readable format, as required.
  • Integrate Legacy Data Systems into a Single Interface: Disparate legacy data systems can be integrated into a single seamless system interface, giving CDOs full awareness of all agency data and improving public and agency level accesses to agency information.
  • Data Flow Through Analytics Dashboard: Integrated data can be represented through a configurable analytics dashboard, giving CDOs new insights into what their data means.
  • Merge FOIA Processes with the New Integrated Data System:  Connecting FOIA processes with the new integrated data system will provide FOIA officials with full awareness of all agency data. It will also give them the ability to identify data already available through the agency’s public data portal. 

We Can Make this Reality

Next Phase Solution, LLC, a woman-owned small business, offers our Federal customers OnBase by Hyland, a versatile data information management solution developed here in the United States. OnBase can quickly deploy the “four actions” and assist agency CDOs meet new and evolving requirements. OnBase is a COTS, low-custom-code solution that is cloud architecture-friendly and will seamlessly merge legacy data systems into a single user interface to provide an enhanced enterprise information management capability.  Data analytics will be presented in a smart dashboard that easily configures to meet user needs at different levels.  Flexible, scalable and secure, OnBase easily evolves as customer requirements change.  With enterprise data encrypted on the move or while at rest, OnBase is secure and helps counter insider-threat risks.  On the GSA Schedule 70, Next Phase Solution, LLC is ready to help Federal agencies and CDOs comply with new requirements set forth in the OPEN Data Act and 21st Century IDEA. Contact us at (407) 440-1411 for a demonstration, visit our website at www.npsols.com, or email Christopher Sharpley, Managing Director of Federal Practice, at christopher.sharpley@npsols.com

Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay