Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of State has worked to quickly improve different arms of the State Department that were redundant and gathered the same COVID-19 data, when the process could be streamlined with advanced technologies and policies.
“I think it’s fair to acknowledge that we at the Department of State could’ve been a bit more mature and further along in our data management efforts prior to the pandemic,” acting Chief Data Officer Janice deGarmo. “While we had a lot of micro-progress throughout the different elements in the department, this pandemic really helped elevate the need for enterprise data management.”
The department has made recent efforts to simultaneously improve its software for collecting and storing data and its governance of the process. The Department of State has also worked to eliminate technical debt department wide so components could pull in COVID-19 data “faster and smarter” from external sources, deGarmo said.
The State Department also established the Enterprise Data Council to implement the Trump administration’s Federal Data Strategy, which the department has since used to prioritize coronavirus data. “We are in the process of creating the first-ever enterprise data strategy, undergoing a data maturity assessment,” deGarmo said. “We also are publishing our first data catalogue ever.”
“If we really want to infuse data into everyday decision making at the department, and elevate data in diplomacy, we have to ensure all of our staff and our officers worldwide know how to use it,” deGarmo said.
Michael Mestrovich, principal deputy chief information officer (CIO) for the U.S. Department of State, delivered a keynote address during Potomac Officers Club’s Secure IT Modernization in Today’s Environment Virtual Event on Wednesday, August 26th.
If you missed the event, you can still register to watch the footage in Potomac Officers Club’s Event Archive.