Chief Data Officer Playbook

A decade ago, a key focus of government pertaining to data was how to make it more open and easily accessible to the public. Ten years later, with thousands of open government data sets worldwide, the discussion has evolved and become more nuanced. Governments are considering their role in overseeing the types and validity of the data they make available, seeking ways to create greater public value from data, and debating how best to protect privacy and govern data use. The rise of government APIs—of which about 700 exist in the United States alone1—and developments such as machine learning, the Internet of Things, smart transportation, and blended data make the role of data management in government even more critical. As digital tools and technologies continue to rapidly evolve, the role of data in government and the roles of those who oversee it—chief data officers (CDOs), chief information officers (CIOs), and chief technology officers (CTOs)—will require more clarity and definition if governments are to put data to use in governing more effectively. In particular, as data becomes more important in finding solutions to public problems (see figure 1), these government technology leaders will play an increasingly important part in delivering better public outcomes at the city, state, and national levels.