February 11, 2017
Data Coalition News
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The latest: 
  • Guest Blog: A Government in Transition: From Documents to Data
  • Data Coalition Members Head to Capitol Hill
  • Recap: Treasury Department Hosts a DATA Act Roundtable
  • Reps. Darrell Issa and Carolyn Maloney to Headline Financial Data Summit 2017. Register

A Government in Transition: From Documents to Data

Thoughts on the transformation from documents to data

By Dean Ritz, Senior Director of IP Strategy at Workiva, Inc.

Governments, businesses, institutions and individuals are amidst a technical and digital reporting transition. Printed documents and PDFs just aren't accessible enough when you want to work with the data locked inside these documents. For example, the popularity of personal financial management software like Mint, Personal Capital, and Quicken speaks to this transition among consumers. Moving from documents to data enables automation for reporting and analysis in a fashion that increases efficiency and reduces errors. This is an effective use of our tax dollars and good for government management.

In government, the transition from documents to data is transpiring in various ways including, most notably, the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act of 2014 (DATA Act). The DATA Act is the United States's first open data law that requires all 24 CFO Act agencies to first standardized, then publish all of their spending data on one accounting platform. The open data law is a leading federal government effort through the inevitable transition from documents to data. I think of this transition as follows:

  1. Reporting is shifting from "what I look like" documents to "what I mean" data.
  2. Data will not be just values but almost always "tagged" with terms that associate these values with descriptions of their specific meaning.
  3. Terms are defined in standardized formats that have shared dictionaries to bring consistent meaning to the values.
  4. Data is of increasing importance for evaluation and oversight as well as prediction.
  5. Data will replace pixel-perfect documents.
Continue reading Dean Ritz's blog post here

Data Coalition Members Head to Capitol Hill

One week ago our Coalition hosted our most successful Capitol Hill Fly-in ever!

To kick off the fly-in, we heard from Gerrit Lansing, White House Digital Director and Margie Graves, Acting Chief Information Officer.

Following the morning session, Data Coalition members went on to meet with Members of the U.S. House of Representatives, U.S. Senators, House and Senate Committee staff, and individual Congressional staffers. By the end of the day, Data Coalition members had 17 Capitol Hill meetings. 
The topics covered in the meetings included DATA Act implementation, the OPEN Government Data Act, non-propriety identifiers, the Financial Transparency Act and the benefits of standardizing and publishing legislative materials in an open format. 

To round out the day, Coalition members, executive branch leaders and congressional staff gathered at Stanton and Greene for a reception to celebrate our 2017 policy agenda.
We are grateful to all the Members, their staff and Committee staffers for taking the time to meet with us on February 2.
Check out all the pictures from the day here.

Recap: Treasury Department Hosts a DATA Act Roundtable

On January 30, the Treasury Department hosted a Roundtable on the DATA Act. Data Coalition members, private sector data users and other stakeholders participated in the event. We are grateful to the Treasury Department's DATA Act team for inviting us to collaborate on the future of federal spending!
Here are the main takeaways:
  1. The federal government will meet the DATA Act deadline. Agencies are on track to deliver a consolidated open data set covering all executive branch spending in time for Treasury to publish it by May 9, 2017. Treasury and OMB guidance requires agencies to deliver data covering the second quarter of FY2017 by April 30. A test data set, covering the Small Business Administration and components of Treasury, is already available on the API.
  2. New visualizations are ready to go, but input is welcome. Thanks to over a year of testing on, Treasury is ready to deploy a range of new visualizations that display the whole of executive branch spending and take advantage of the new connections between financial and award data. Treasury needs more input on these; provide your commentary at
  3. Treasury is eager to see the private sector develop new uses for the data set. Treasury's DATA Act team have recommended that the private sector focus on developing:
    • Tools for public-sector use of the data set, including anti-fraud analytics, Congressional dashboards, and agency-facing views, and
    • Tools for private-sector use of the data set, including visualizations that show the impacts of spending by program and locality.


Financial Data Summit 2017, March 16: Join us and Donnelley Financial Solutions for the third annual Financial Data Summit. The Summit is an all day event and will be held at the JW Marriott in Washington, D.C. Register here

We're excited to announce that Representatives Darrell Issa and Carolyn MaloneyTom Quaadman of the U.S. Chamber for Capital Markets Competitiveness and Mohini Singh of the CFA Institute will be taking the stage. Plus many more!

The Financial Data Summit's main policy focus will be how U.S. regulatory entities can standardized data across their reporting regimes. 

Need accommodation for the Summit? The Data Coalition has rooms blocks available at the JW Marriott. Reserve your room here

Learn more about sponsorship opportunities here or contact

Collective Action: Toward Solving a Vexing Problem to Build a Global Infrastructure for Financial Information

Data Coalition Members

Research Data Group
Donnelley Financial Solutions

Booz Allen Hamilton
MorganFranklin Consulting
StreamLink Software

Center for Organizational Excellence
CGI Federal
Elder Research
Grant Thornton
Information Builders
PR Newswire

Zenius Corporation

Trade Association
Object Management Group 


About Us

The Data Coalition advocates on behalf of the private sector and the public interest for the publication of government information as standardized, open data.
Copyright © 2017 Data Coalition, All rights reserved.

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