Earlier this month, Qlarion’s CEO, Jake Bittner, moderated a discussion at the Northern Virginia Technology Council’s (NVTC) Big Data and Analytics Committee Meeting, where Anthony (Tony) Fung (Virginia Deputy Secretary of Technology), Ernie Steidle (COO/CIO of the Virginia Department for Aging and Rehabilitative Services), and Anthony Wood (Program Manager for Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s Innovation Center of Excellence), shared thoughts on the challenges and opportunities related to big data and analytics in Virginia.
Deputy Secretary of Technology Tony Fung kicked off the event with a discussion of the landscape of data analytics across the commonwealth. Deputy Secretary Fung emphasized that there have been individual analytics success stories among several state agencies, and the opportunity for real progress through analytics has never been better.
Virginia now has the resources in place to implement big data and analytics programs on a large scale.
In 2016, Governor McAuliffe issued Executive Directive 7, which mandates data sharing across state agencies. Deputy Secretary Fung announced that a final report, which will provide agencies with more detail about how to comply with the directive, will be released in a few weeks.
Ernie Steidle reported that, in addition to the executive directive, the state legislature recently passed HB 2457, which enables data sharing across Health and Human Resources agencies. The law dictates that all HHR agencies and departments, for the purpose of data sharing, be considered a single organization. Eliminating barriers between the agencies will increase efficiency and streamline services for constituents. Based on the results of the initiative, other agency groups, such as Public Safety, could adapt the same model.
The state has solidified its commitment to modernizing its technology programs by forming the Virginia Information Technologies Agency’s Innovation Center of Excellence. Anthony Wood explained that VITA ICE’s primary goal is to evaluate and implement new technologies by leveraging the capabilities of Virginia’s technology companies. It’s developed a number of resources to establish relationships with Virginia tech companies.
State leadership is also intent on securing internal buy-in and educating government decision makers on the value of big data and analytics. The upcoming Governor’s Data Analytics Summit, an event exclusively for state and local government employees, will feature a lineup of speakers and panelists who will discuss how agencies can overcome challenges and achieve their goals through analytics. The event will offer actionable strategies for scoping and launching analytics projects.