Data Centricity: The Heart of Federal IT

Tom O'Keefe

By Tom O’Keefe, Consultant

If there’s been a common theme I’ve been hearing lately, it’s data centricity.

It’s a fundamental shift in federal IT that’s been building for a few years that could have broad implications for the types of technology investments agencies will look to make in the future. Federal agencies are beginning to realize that not only is data their core asset, they know they need to make start making investments in the stewardship and utilization of that data. It’s not enough to just have data or protect data, that data needs to be operationalized and transformed from data to knowledge to action – and support the execution of the mission.

At an AFCEA Bethesda breakfast I attended in March, speakers from the Departments of Defense and Homeland Security affirmed the increasing understanding within their agency of the value of the data they capture throughout the course of their operations. It’s fair to note here that agencies have been talking about making better use of their data for years, but much like we’ve seen the slow and steady progression to cloud adoption, I believe we’re seeing a steady progression toward realizing the importance of data and turning it into actionable intelligence to enable the mission.So how can solutions providers help? Tailor your messaging to the government stakeholder you’re having a conversation with. You will have to talk about data differently to someone in a mission role than you would to someone in the IT department. A one-size-fits-all approach isn’t going to work and you will also need to modulate your message depending on which department you are talking to.

But at the heart of everything you do, make sure you’re talking about data centricity and how your solution can secure the data, display an audit trail of who interacted with the data or improve the ability of agencies to store and retrieve the data.

Agencies will be placing a higher demand on technologies that enable them to better understand their data, and this shift can be advantageous to solutions vendors who have focused on messaging around data as an asset. Talk to mission leaders about how your solution enables them to execute on the services they’re required to deliver to citizens. Talk to IT groups about how you can protect the data, share the data or better store the data. And if you aren’t building a story around data centricity yet, start thinking about how your tools align with this increasingly important concept.


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About Tomas O'Keefe
Tom O'Keefe has over 10 years of market research experience as an Analyst and Consultant in the federal space. He also earned an MA in Political Science from George Mason University. He has covered both civilian and defense agencies and has presented to clients ranging from junior-level associates to executives from some of the largest Systems Integrators and contractors in the federal marketplace.

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