Agencies will need to address cultural and technical challenges to implement policies on open data and better data governance, and also will need the right tools and practices to effectively bring those policies into reality, according to a report released today by the Data Foundation and Deloitte.

The report – titled Future of Open Data: Maximizing the Impact of the OPEN Government Data Act – highlights the promise of the OPEN Government Data Act and the larger Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act.

“OPEN is positioned to help modernize the federal government’s data processes to meet the needs of policymakers and the American public in the 21st century and beyond,” the authors state.

To implement the law in a way that goes beyond a mere compliance exercise, the report recommends that agencies focus on the need for chief data officers to take the lead and implement best practices.

“The CDO role in federal government agencies will be at the forefront of OPEN’s implementation,” the report notes. “The CDO community needs to be properly empowered to effectively implement new directives about data quality and management in government.”

The report recommends that agencies support CDOs by appointing people free from other obligations, incorporate them into agency processes, and give them the leeway to execute the policy. The report also recommends that Congress and agencies fully fund and resource their CDOs to empower them to make change.

The Data Foundation and Deloitte also highlight the importance of a strong CDO interagency community. They recommend that CDOs work collaboratively to share best practices, identify existing success stories, and implement a consistent governance process.

Finally, the report notes the need for workforce changes, including updated job descriptions, trainings, certifications, and new classifications. The authors recommend the Office of Personnel Management take up these issues.

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