Like the private sector, government agencies are struggling with growing amounts of online data and must figure out ways to cost-effectively manage and store the information. Agencies at all levels already have data warehouses in place to help manage the workload. However, public sector IT managers must begin updating their business intelligence and data warehousing programs to deal with new demands from taxpayers and more accountability to state and local legislatures. "The public sector needs to adopt an 'ATM mindset' that takes into account speed, accuracy and availability," Glenn Galfond, the partner in charge of PricewaterhouseCoopers' public sector data warehousing practice, told attendees Tuesday at TDWI World Conference Spring 2001 in Washington, D.C. "The data warehouse must become the ATM of information with information at the right time in the right form so people can make faster and better decisions." On the federal level, he cited the Internal Revenue Service, the U.S. Census Bureau, the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Veterans Benefit Administration as agencies that are building state-of-the-art data warehouses. The U.S. Census Bureau, for instance, studied a data management model built by the Australia Bureau of Statistics. Now the bureau is building a tier three data warehousing architecture that within the next several years will provide general access to the public, handle high speed responses and support multiple languages. "Agencies should have executive level sponsorship, active user investment and use proven teams and tools to build the 'ATM for information,'" Galfond says.
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