Engage & Connect Series – Unlocking the Potential of Data

Engage & Connect Series – Unlocking the Potential of Data…

May 25, 2022

Engage & Connect Series – Unlocking the Potential of Data

When properly leveraged, digital technology fosters connections and improves processes across seemingly disparate agencies. Yet without an understanding of the policies it’s addressing, technology alone can’t provide a comprehensive solution. There must be a clear understanding of the challenge, achievable goals for solving them, and actions that can be taken to get there.

That insight was among the takeaways afforded attendees of  AFCEA Bethesda’s final event of the 2022 Engage & Connect series: “Unlocking the Potential of Data.” Cybersecurity and data are extraordinarily powerful when blended together, but you cannot have either without understanding the policy up front.

Following opening remarks from Claire Bailey, Regional Vice President of Governmental Affairs at Veracode—the event’s premier sponsor—attendees heard from Harrison Smith, Co-Director of Enterprise Digitalization at the IRS.

Smith discussed with attendees the transformative power of data and technology in his agency and pondered what lies ahead. When determining a course of action for the Office of Enterprise Digitalization, Smith said he and his colleagues consider the desired end-result, and intentionally keep their goals broad in order to not restrict avenues for reaching them. For example, their goal of improving use and management covers a range of operational objectives related to policy, process, and technology. Harrison also recommends subdividing a process into increments – and creating manageable, limited variables that provide the opportunity to use existing technology in new ways.

Harrison advises identifying capabilities over solutions when possible. And always be open to input from industry partners, he said. Talk about goals in a way that facilitates thought-sharing. The Office of Enterprise Digitalization, for example, expanded its perspective by inviting industry members to listen to their plans and to ask questions.

These “listening sessions” facilitated a shift in perspective, promoted transparency, and informed their overall process. Pursuing single solutions – whether in technology or business processes and policy – can lead to unintended consequences. By inviting in partners with related but outside perspectives, the sessions provided balance and a new understanding about where and to what extent organizational investments should be made.

“Setting up new entities is hard. Find balance, and find partnerships that lend valuable perspective to your process,” Harrison said in his closing remarks. “And most importantly, be kind. The IRS and Office of Enterprise Digitalization exist to help people; we’re all trying to get to the same place.”

AFCEA Bethesda’s Engage & Connect event series was created to allow for invaluable in-person networking and thought exchange between government and industry leaders. Inquire about sponsorship opportunities at registrar@afceabethesda.org.





Thought Leadership