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January 22, 2020

Building an OCDO, Step Two of the Data and Analytics Center of Excellence Approach

By the Data and Analytics Center of Excellence

Based on the Foundations for Evidence-Based Policymaking Act (FEBP) and OMB guidance, each CFO Act agency is considering the implementation of an Office of the Chief Data Officer (OCDO) within its organizational structure. Building on expertise from prior and current engagements,the Data & Analytics Center of Excellence (DA CoE) is providing an outline to build an OCDO. Previous installments in this series briefly cover the first two topics below.

This installment will cover, at a high level, the next two steps:

  • Construct a Charter to define the OCDO mission, vision, and goals that formalizes expectations. Ensure that the agency’s goals and priorities are reflected in the OCDO charter.
  • Establish the OCDO as an integrator in the organizational structure of the agency. Establish technical use cases for discrete projects.

Constructing an OCDO charter: The DA CoE and customer agencies are successful when creating OCDO charters that contain the mission, vision, and goals of the OCDO. Supplementary content in the charter includes the performance measures, critical success factors, and organizational structure for the OCDO. Once created, agency leadership reviews and agrees to the charter, establishing clear enterprise-wide expectations. Additionally, the charter serves as a guiding principle for the OCDO’s work, especially in their early stages. This approach significantly enhances an agency’s likelihood to succeed in establishing an OCDO. The DA CoE develops OCDO charters with partner agencies as a critical element to modernize data and analytics practices, while changing the data culture.

Establishing the OCDO within an agency’s organizational structure: The OCDO integrates people, processes, and technology to use and manage data as a strategic asset across the agency. As the office is responsible for data governance and lifecycle data management, the DA CoE recommends centrally locating the office in order to have agency-wide visibility. Creating an office that can reach across business and technical lines will ensure that the OCDO is the integrator and distributor of agency data assets. Having a technical use case inventory for the OCDO at the outset will provide immediate value and visibility to the agency. The DA CoE provides guidance in this area, identifying several locations within each agency’s organizational structure in which the OCDO can be placed and implementing use cases for discrete projects.

Next on the Data and Analytics CoE OCDO series: Establishing Data Governance.

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