The Data Foundation's second DATA Act Training Program, on Sept. 29, 2016, introduced federal leaders to the details of the DATA Act of 2014.
The DATA Act: Vision & Value was recommended reading.
The program featured the following speakers and presentations:
Session I: Welcome and Introduction to the DATA Act
Faculty: Hudson Hollister, Interim President, Data Foundation; Dick Gregg, former Fiscal Assistant Secretary of the Treasury
Summary: The DATA Act of 2014 is the nation’s first open data law and the largest transformation for federal financial management, spending oversight, and award reporting since the CFO Act of 1990. In this lecture, Hudson Hollister, who wrote the initial version of the DATA Act as a Congressional staffer before its introduction by Rep. Darrell Issa and Sen. Mark Warner in 2011, described the history of the law, its original intent, and how it shapes the modernization of federal spending. Dick Gregg, who served as Fiscal Assistant Secretary of the Treasury until June 2015, put the mandate in context with the federal government’s history of financial management reforms.
Session II: The DATA Act Information Model Schema
Faculty: Amy Edwards, Senior Advisor, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Dean Ritz, Senior Director of IP Strategy, Workiva (moderator)
Summary: Applying government-wide data standards to federal spending - financial data, award data, and related information - is the central goal of the DATA Act. This session introduced the DATA Act Information Model Schema (DAIMS) that OMB and the Treasury Department have established. The DAIMS expresses government-wide spending data elements and how they relate to one another.
Session III: DATA Act Compliance for Financial Managers
Faculty: Marcel Jemio, Program Director, U.S. Department of the Treasury; Renata Maziarz, Director for Data Transparency, Department of the Treasury; Sherry Weir, Program Manager, Kearney & Company (moderator)
Summary: The DATA Act requires every federal agency to begin reporting standardized spending data, consistent with the DATA Act Information Model Schema, by May 2017. The Treasury Department and the Office of Management and Budget have laid out a series of steps for financial management office to prepare for, and successfully execute, this requirement. The Treasury Department has built open-source software that assists agency financial managers in testing their standardized data sets, known as the DATA Act Broker. This session summarized the steps recommended for agencies and included a brief demonstration of the DATA Act Broker.
Session IV: Visualizing and Using Spending Data
Faculty: Tim Gribben, Deputy CFO, Small Business Administration; Kaitlin Devine, Product Manager, Treasury Department; Seth Metcalf, Deputy Treasurer, Ohio; Demek Adams, Partner, Grant Thornton (moderator)
Summary: The government-wide data structure created by OMB and the Treasury Department under the DATA Act makes new visualizations and tools possible. These new visualizations and tools will both improve public transparency and allow agency leadership to derive better insights and make data-driven decisions. This session introduced the Treasury Department’s plans to improve the USASpending.gov website and considered how agencies are planning to deploy internal tools to use spending information for management, once it is expressed as standardized data. This session also featured a demonstration of Ohio's open spending data platform, which is recognized by the Public Interest Research Group as leading the nation.
Vision & Value presentation
Presenter: Frank Landefeld, Managing Director & Public Sector Market Leader, MorganFranklin
Summary: In July 2016, the Data Foundation and MorganFranklin published the first research paper on the DATA Act, titled The DATA Act: Vision & Value. The DATA Act: Vision & Value is recommended reading for this training program. During our lunch, MorganFranklin managing director Frank Landefeld described the research, insights, and aspirations behind the paper.
Session V: How the DATA Act Transforms Recipient Reporting
Faculty: Nicole Martinez-Moore, Policy Analyst, White House Office of Management and Budget, Office of Federal Financial Management; Mike Peckham, Director, DATA Act Program Management Office, Department of Health and Human Services; Adam Roth, CEO, StreamLink Software (moderator)
Summary: Federal contractors and grantees face complex reporting obligations, imposed by government-wide laws and regulations and by agency-specific practices. Standardized data fields could eventually be used by contractors’ and grantees’ software to automatically fulfill some reporting obligations. This lecture and demonstration explored the possibilities for standardized reporting by contractors and grantees.
Session VI: Anti-Fraud Analytics
Faculty: Ed Krafsur, Program Lead, Analytics Lab, U.S. Postal Service Office of the Inspector General; Mike Wood, former Executive Director, Recovery Accountability and Transparency Board; Tim O’Brien, Palantir; David Williams, former Inspector General, Postal Service (moderator)
Summary: As agencies standardize and publish spending data sets of higher quality, inspectors general are using them to drive anti-fraud analytics. This session introduced the analytical tools being adopted by inspectors general and explained how standardizing spending data reduces the cost and complexity of such tools.
Session VII: The Future of the DATA Act
Faculty: Christina Ho, Deputy Assistant Secretary for Accounting Policy and Financial Transparency, Treasury Department; Mark Reger, Deputy Controller, White House Office of Management and Budget, Office of Federal Financial Management; Joe Kull, Director, PwC (moderator)
Summary: Even before the passage of the DATA Act, the government had embraced the goal of data-centric financial and award reporting. This lecture explained how the DATA Act reinforces that goal and how - if the law is fully implemented - public-sector spending will change in future years. Current and former leaders in financial management put the DATA Act in context and envisioned a future of cost savings and transformation.