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Leveraging Cross-Functional Information Governance Teams for Public Sector Data Management

Public sector organizations rely heavily on diverse data types ranging from case data to social media insights to make critical decisions, often with life and death implications. To effectively manage and leverage these data sets and to effectively integrate them with insights such as third-party datasets, community feedback notes, and social media scraping, regulators must deploy a nuanced approach. One of the hallmarks of this approach is the deployment of a cross-functional information governance steering team.

A cross-functional information governance steering team brings together thought and team leaders such as subject matter experts, chief data officers, informatics leads, and privacy and ethics officers under one umbrella. Its goal is to incorporate diverse viewpoints and skill sets, such as data management, technology, privacy, compliance, and information security to ensure that data governance efforts both align with organizational goals and effectively mitigate risks.

In one notable example cited by a recent McKinsey study this past March, the Maryland Department of Health formed a data governance council that was tasked with the strategic oversight and review of data management efforts and included members with deep expertise in relevant and diverse areas such as data, technology, privacy, compliance, and behavioral health.

The McKinsey study noted that creating a council similar to the example above enhances data quality and integrity by establishing standardized processes for data collection, storage, and analysis. This, in turn, boosts confidence in decision-making processes reliant on this data, fosters transparency and accountability by clearly defining roles, responsibilities, and workflows related to data governance, and reduces ambiguity and potential conflicts. A cross-functional team also facilitates innovation and collaboration by encouraging the cross-pollination of ideas and expertise across disciplines.

The result is that the organization can more easily formulate novel insights and solutions that can drive positive outcomes in public health initiatives while simultaneously improving its risk management capabilities by proactively addressing data security, privacy, and compliance challenges through robust policies, protocols, and training programs.


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