The DATA Act: Good Use of Scarce Government Resources?

Thursday, May 26, 2016
Shelley H. Metzenbaum

Alliance Senior Advisor Shelley Metzenbaum spoke on opportunities for data analytics improvement at the 2016 DATA Act Summit in Washington, DC on May 26. Read an excerpt below, followed by a link to the full speech. 

The Opportunity
Data. Analytics. Big Data. Data-driven.

More and more people are talking about data and analytics these days. Even Congress joined in when it adopted the cleverly named DATA Act.

There is good reason for so much attention to data.

  • Data and data analytics can reveal problems and opportunities for improvement.
  • They can inform priority-setting and program design.
  • They provide a quick read whether or not government actions are having the anticipated effect. 
  • Good data sets, plus data from controlled trials, help determine if and how much government actions explain changes in performance trends.
  • They can also suggest ways to reduce costs without compromising results.

The Challenge
Today, I want to talk about data and the DATA Act. 

Specifically, I want to encourage everyone in this room to do whatever you can to make sure the reporting and related requirements of the DATA Act realize more value than they cost and more value than alternate uses of the same resources. Today, I want to urge each and every one of you to start to ask, answer, and act on the following question:

What needs to happen to make sure the work being done to comply with the DATA Act adds significant value to government’s ability to deliver more mission for the money in fair, understandable ways that also increase trust in government?

Isn’t that the question we should be asking before, during and after implementing this and any law?


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