10 Ways to Capitalize on Transparency’s Potential

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Since President Obama signed the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act in May 2014, federal agencies have been hard at work implementing data standards and establishing a framework for increasing financial transparency by May 2017. The Office of Management and Budget and the Treasury Department are leading the effort.

The DATA Act requires two things. First, agencies must standardize information they report about their finances, grants and contracts, using common fields and formats established by OMB and Treasury. Second, once all the spending data has been standardized, Treasury and OMB will publish it on a much-expanded version of the USASpending.gov website. Meanwhile, a pilot program is under development to test whether the same standards should be applied to the information nonfederal grantees and contractors must report. Read More


Four Immutable Laws of Data

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I am often fascinated by the ways in which data is erroneously perceived, collected, stored, retrieved, and reported in organizations. Data of all kinds certainly have limitations. In any given situation, I find that half the people ignore any data that is presented, and half of the remaining people misinterpret the information.

But rather than dwelling on these failures, I believe that a potential solution to data ignorance lies in thinking bigger about data. Data errors would be far less common (though certainly would not be eradicated) if people understood the true nature of data and the relationship of data to the space-time continuum (or some other type of scientific-like thing).

Therefore, I propose the following “Four Laws of Data” to help guide practitioners to understand the interdependencies within the data universe.

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