In May, Cisco was proud to host our first-ever summit for the U.S. Federal government to share lessons and a path forward for digital transformation across Federal agencies. Hundreds of Federal leaders joined us for FedFWD: A Roadmap to Digital Transformation. I’m excited to kick off a blog series that recaps some of the incredible insights that came out of those conversations, including leveraging data in government.

Accurate and timely data is the backbone of any agency mission, from launching rockets into space to putting new technology in schools. Its importance is not a new concept for IT leaders, but how it drives Federal digital transformation may be. Data is one of the cornerstones considered pivotal to laying a foundation of digital success with current and emerging technologies, particularly with insight and decision-making capabilities. However, questions still remain as to how Federal agencies can best utilize, control, and secure their data.

Maximizing data

Agencies have transitioned quickly in recent years from capturing and analyzing data at a slow pace to leveraging data by processing and providing it to decision-makers and stakeholders in order to support quick decision-making. The customer awareness of the availability of data – from the private sector – has buoyed how agencies test their data investments and process quantities of information. These investments are critical to organizations, as they work to use digital transformation as a lever to change their infrastructure and security protocols.

Leveraging data for decision making

In May, Cisco hosted a discussion with the National Science Foundation’s CIO and CTO Dorothy Aronson, the Pentagon’s Katie Olsen, Deputy Director of the Defense Digital Service, and NASA’s Ron Thompson, CDO and Digital Transformation Officer. We discussed data as a catalyst for digital transformation and what it means for driving insights in emerging technologies.

Ron Thompson told the group that he sees data as a critical component of decision making, “Data is one of the core thrusts that we’re seeing as absolutely pivotal,” he said. “We’re investing very heavily into that data layer, and really working on interoperability to take a foundational approach in making the data a strategic asset for NASA.”

“Data is one of the core thrusts that we’re seeing as absolutely pivotal.”

This encapsulates what we hear from Federal customers often: agencies are choosing to invest in priority projects, and developing enterprise transformation services around data visualization, data analytics, and data dissemination of their work.

Leveraging data holistically

A holistic approach to gleaning data insights is vital to allowing stakeholders to go “all-in” with their decisions and remain on target for the mission. Working holistically towards data insights offers agencies the opportunities to examine how to best streamline and augment their analytics. This has led to an increased focus on emerging technologies, like artificial intelligence and machine learning, which allow agencies to remove the human element and bring in an algorithm for increased predictability and timeliness.

Learn more

You can watch our full discussion from the Cisco-hosted event FedFWD: Roadmap to Digital Transformation.

Next, my colleague, Scott Brown, will be outlining the extraordinary capabilities of cloud technology, as well as how the Federal government can capitalize on its potential. 



Mike Younkers

Senior Director, Systems Engineering

US Public Sector - Federal