Data Transparency 2018 Recap: Standardize, Share, and Use

From all of us at the Data Foundation, thank you to everyone who took part in our sixth annual open data conference, Data Transparency 2018 (DT2018)! Additionally, we would like to extend a special thank you to all our sponsors, including Title Sponsor Workiva and Partner Sponsor Booz Allen Hamilton, all of our session and general sponsors, and to our Special Policy Partners AGA and Bipartisan Policy Center.


We were thrilled to welcome two data leaders from the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) to deliver remarks on the main stage, Margaret Weichert, Deputy Director for Management and Suzette Kent, Federal CIO, who are leading the charge to transform the way our government leverages data. Both Weichert and Kent discussed the Administration’s goal to better utilize government in the context of the President’s Management Agenda (PMA), specifically Cross-Agency Priority (CAP) Goal 2, leveraging data as a strategic asset.

Our international Keynote was delivered by Andrew Lalor, Assistant Secretary, Data and Digital, at Australia's Department of the Prime Minister and Cabinet, which encapsulated each of the three themes of DT2018, standardize, share and use. Australia is a global leader in open data utilization, and Lalor detailed just how the country's government and industries are standardizing, sharing, and using data. From Standard Business Reporting to the Business Grants Hub, a grant management portal, Australia serves as a model of how open data reform can transform reporting practices in the United States.

We were honored to hear from federal and international leadership during their keynotes and were excited to see that DT2018 brought together open data experts from around the globe to explore how data is being standardized, shared, and used to create a better future for our society. Throughout the day, attendees were able to see how each of these data themes are already being implemented across government and the private sector.



  • The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Deputy Assistant Secretary Andrea Brandon and ReInvent Grants Initiative Lead Mike Peckham laid out how their department has standardized grant reporting data from the enactment of the DATA Act to the rollout of the PMA. HHS has been standardizing data elements to reduce reporting burdens in an online repository known as the CDER library, which in turn allows the department to develop digital tools to manage risk and increase grant impact while reducing administrative burden and costs.

  • Srinivas Bangarbale of the Commodities Future Trading Commission and Robin Doyle of J.P. Morgan discussed the Legal Entity Identifier (LEI) and how it can transform compliance. Identifiers like the LEI have helped derivatives regulators understand activity in the global market. Without these identifiers, data would remain siloed and regulators would be hard pressed to connect the dots between datasets. With a standardized, nonproprietary identifier, like the LEI, investors and regulators will have improved real-time understanding of markets and systematic risks.


  • Donald Haughton of the Department of Labor and Michael Dalton of the Bureau of Labor Statistics explained government use of company data to help job seekers during their panel discussion on how the federal government uses private sector data. Through, the agencies are compiling nationwide hiring data from numerous job listing databases providing job seekers with a one-stop-shop where they can search for opening across public and private sectors by job type, zip code, company size, hiring rate, etc.

  • During their panel discussion addressing corporate data management, IBM's Justin Fessler and SAP's Marc Teerlink examined the lack of data synchronicity across federal agencies. Both Fessler and Teerlink mentioned the impediments of private-public data sharing, including bias in shared datasets and the importance of knowing exactly where data is coming from when making decisions driven by that information. There is still great potential for private sector data to inform public sector operations, and as Fessler and Teerlink mentioned, changes to corporate data philanthropy start with conversations like those that happened at DT2018.



  • Dave Lebryk, Fiscal Assistant Secretary at the Department of the Treasury, talked about the role of the CFO and how they've shifted focus to data utilization. By centralizing financial management functions and focusing on solutions that work government-wide, Treasury is implementing major aspects of the PMA, namely, leveraging data as a strategic asset and shifting from low-value work to high-value work.

  • Treasury's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Accounting Policy and Financial Transparency, Amy Edwards, provided attendees with a demo of to show how they can use open data available on the site. By exploring a dataset available on the site in-depth, she showcased the level of insight the website can provide down to the agency, budget function, or object class level.

The DT2018 audience heard from over 45 data experts across 14 sessions reflecting the exceptional level of support for our mission, and the momentum within the data and technology communities. Throughout the day we heard a number of examples of how government and the private sector are realizing the benefits of standardizing, sharing and using the robust data sets that are now accessible across our sectors. We look forward to convening next year for DT2019 to asses the progress and milestones this community has achieved. See you next year at DT2019!

Did you happen to miss something at DT2018? We’ve got you covered! Full session videos, presentation slides, and photos from the conference are now available online.