Data Governance and Analytics
Acting Executive Director and Chief Data Officer
The Office of Data Governance and Analysis is the VA’s authoritative clearinghouse for the collection, analysis, and dissemination of information about Veterans and VA programs and is responsible for leading data management, data analysis, and business intelligence capabilities to inform VA-wide decision making. The office supports policy development and resource allocation decisions with a robust predictive analysis and forecasting capability that is uniquely positioned to inform leadership decisions.
The VA Data Governance Council serves as the principal entity which acts on the Secretary’s behalf with respect to VA corporate data governance. It is the final authority on all VA directives, policies, and standards concerning the creation, collection and dissemination of authoritative data. The DGC is co-chaired by VA’s Chief Data Officer and the Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary for Information & Technology.
What is data governance?
Data governance is the setting and enforcing of priorities for managing data as a strategic asset. This is accomplished by establishing a DGC, that seeks to understand the scope of the data that needs to be managed (enterprise data catalog) and which specifies the policies, standards, and roles for executing stewardship functions such as data quality, data privacy, security and confidentiality, data design and data documentation. The DGC also monitors and enforces compliance with policies, standards and responsibilities throughout the data lifecycle.
How is data governance implemented?
The DGC implements data governance by seeking meaningful and broad stakeholder input to the agency’s data management priorities. The DGC uses its own maturity model influenced by the DAMA Body of Knowledge DAMA DMBOK) and Capability Maturity Model Integration to assess the agency’s data capabilities as well as its needs and recommends priorities and plans for future agency investments based on the assessment’s findings.
What can be accomplished by implementing data governance?
Data governance is a key factor for successful management of complex data systems. It enables organizations to deal more effectively with challenges related to data definitions and standards, identification and implementation of authoritative data sources (ADS), data sharing, required data changes over time, and satisfying the needs of different stakeholder groups within and outside the agency. The benefits of a proactive approach to data governance include:
- Decreasing the costs of managing data while increasing the use and value the existing data, accomplished by aligning and standardizing data models and definitions and enforcing data standards while improving how the agency collects, uses, manages, and publishes data;
- Improved data discovery and res-use, accomplished by creating an agency data catalog while avoiding unnecessary duplication of data in systems and collection efforts which reduces the work necessary to reconcile errors or discrepancies when merging or sharing data;
- Improved data quality. achieved by scheduling regular data quality audits and using consistent data quality dimensions and assessments based on data standards in variable naming and metadata categorization;
- Data harmonization, accomplished by implementating ADS resulting in savings from improved efficiencies, lower costs and streamlined processes for system development with greater automation and lesser resource spend while meeting the organizational business units and stakeholders’ needs;
- Increased data privacy and security, gained by establishing the necessary controls for data access by applying the appropriate level of protection to data based on their level of sensitivity.
What are the key activities of VA’s DGC?
- Data policy – the DGC issues guidance on the management intent and fundamental rules governing the creation, acquisition, integrity, security, quality, and use of data and information via an operating framework.
- Data issue management - the DGC establishes processes and procedures for removing or reducing the impact of obstacles that prevent effective use of data. Issue management includes identification, definition, quantification, prioritization, tracking, reporting and resolution of issues.
- Data measurement - the DGC sets forth processes used to measure, prioritize, and improve the quality of data by identifying strategies for preventing, detecting, and correcting errors and misuses of data.
- Data sharing - the DGC issues guidance on the requirements and ethical framework for collecting and sharing VA’s data according to a framework that prevents data missuses while safeguarding data privacy and security.
- Data communications - the DGC monitors the selection and implementation of ADSs using computing and communication technologies to transfer data from one system or place to another to enable the movement of electronic or digital data between ADSs and upstream/downstream systems and data stores.
Resources and Training
The Office of Enterprise Integration serves as the principal advisor to VA leaders on all matters of policy and organizational strategy. We serve Veterans by providing VA decision makers with the advice, counsel, and support necessary to fulfill the VA mission and to maximize Veteran satisfaction.
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