Despite all the lip service paid to issues around data management and data quality, less than half of state governments have a formal data governance policy in place.

That is the finding of the new 2016 State CIO Survey, from the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO), which annually polls state CIOs on a variety of technology issues.

The 2016 survey included a number of questions surveying data management and data governance practices, looking to capture progress achieved so far while also identifying opportunities and challenges across the states.

The survey found that a majority (58 percent) of state CIOs consider data management and data governance to be a key element in their strategic agendas and operational plans. Some 46 percent have a formal data governance policy in place, which is a dramatic increase from the 2015 survey, in which less than 5 percent said they had formal data management policies and practices in place.

While most states now have established standards for data classification and security (cited by 71 percent), most states are still a long way from implementing a mature Enterprise Data Management function.

Consider how the state CIOs responded to the following:

  • 34 percent have a data stewards network in place
  • 25 percent have a strategy in place to deal with large volumes of data
  • 23 percent have an established governance organization led by the business with representation from data management, enterprise architecture, information technology, records management, and procurement
  • 21 percent have a training strategy in place for the various roles necessary to staff a data management function
  • 18 percent have data management standards in place for defining a business information model --conceptual, logical and physical—with tools in place to manage these models
  • 18 percent have in place a data and information asset portfolio
  • 18 percent have established standards for metadata
  • 18 percent have a strategy in place to deal with unstructured (as well as structured) data

Among the reasons why there is still so much room for improvement in many of the above areas may be the degree to which individual state have a chief data officer in place. Some 21 percent of states have a chief data officer that reports to the state CIO, while another 11 percent have a chief data officer that doesn’t report to the state CIO. Another 20 percent of states are considering the role of chief data officer.

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