Thomas Beach on Commerce Dept’s Focus on Deliverables in Data Efforts

2 mins read
Thomas Beach
Thomas Beach Interim CDO Commerce Department

Thomas Beach, interim chief data officer at the Department of Commerce (DOC), told Nextgov in an interview published Tuesday about the establishment of the Commerce Data Governance Board (CDGB) and how the department transitioned from focusing on governance to actualizing deliverables.

“And that's really the incubator for what gets done,” Beach said of CDGB. “So the CDO Office, you can look at staffing and resourcing and things like that, but it's [about] what do you get done? The whole is much better than the parts, and the CDGB paves the way of facilitating the whole coming together.”

Beach discussed how Commerce made the shift from “first gear to third gear” when it comes to its data efforts.

“So last year, what we were able to do by partnering was to accomplish a couple areas—those dedicated to the Federal Data Strategy. There were a couple action steps there on data maturity assessment and data skills assessment, and then a follow-on skills gap analysis. And so those three components were sort of the main deliverable,” he said.

Beach talked about the advantages of working with people from bureaus and offices and asking them about their data journeys.

“And my last bit on that is, it was so important to have buy-in from the bureaus and offices as to what the deliverables were. I think we spent a lot of time meeting folks where they were on their data journey, not telling them where they need to be. And we were purposeful in doing that,” he said.

Beach also shared his experience with the CDO Council as part of the data skills and workforce competency working group.

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