Before the holidays, we spoke with Charles Fullwood, Senior Director, Software Solutions at Force3, about his reflections on 2018 and how the way we operate in the cloud is drastically changing. We continue that discussion in 2019 to learn more about what he predicts the New Year will hold for data management in the cloud. Specifically, Fullwood thinks that 2019 will be the year of “cloud smart,” meaning that organizations will create cloud strategies that prioritize more effective and accurate data management in the cloud. This is being implemented as a new phase in government IT modernization, following the heavily pushed “cloud first” initiative.
Fullwood outlined three key elements that will pave the way towards a cloud smart approach: data lineage, data governance, and data science. He explained how these elements work together to address the data management needs of government agencies and how they will contribute to moving the needle in an increasingly data-driven world.
Enforcing Data Lineage
When asked about trends expected in 2019, Fullwood emphasized the importance of understanding where your data comes from, especially with data multiplying rapidly. Understanding your data’s lineage is particularly important for efforts completely dependent on data, such as AI projects. If the data powering an AI project is unreliable or unable to be traced to its source, it runs the risk of compromising the project and jeopardizing precious time and resources. A more informed data lineage approach minimizes those potential challenges and provides much needed clarity into an organization’s growing mountain of data. Data lineage is also a fundamental element necessary for audit purposes.
Enacting Data Governance
As the trend of data decentralization takes off, noted by Fullwood in his 2018 reflections, and more and more organizations move towards gathering data at the edge, the ability to govern that data becomes critical. “Until there is a data governance plan in place that assures data is clean and accurate, agencies can’t truly manage their data,” he stated. “A comprehensive data governance plan provides integrity, security, and overall reliability of the data.”
An important part of effective data governance is efficient and reliable storage options. Data governance relies on the ability to manage, analyze, and access data securely and quickly. Therefore, the infrastructure created to house that data must be scalable, easy to navigate, and cost-effective.
Empowering Data Science
Alongside the evident need for data lineage and data governance strategies, a strong case can be made for a data science platform approach when it comes to government data management. Fullwood explained that we’re going to see a shift in infrastructure that embraces converged platforms and tackles different challenges in data management like dirty or inaccurate data in one place.
The increasing opportunities in data science aren’t a coincidence. There is an undeniably growing need for savvy data scientists in government data management efforts, and their skills are being put to the test. “It’s all well and good to create a really cool predictive model, for example, but it’s entirely different to use it in a testing world compared to an operationalized world,” said Fullwood. “Converged platforms will allow operational models to be created and put into place.”
Through the combination of elements like data lineage, data governance, and data science, 2019 could really be the year of cloud smart, and government agencies will be able to quench their thirst for more effective data management.