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A September 2014 report from Forrester Research, “The DATA Act: One Small Step for Data, One (Potentially) Giant Step for Accountability” overviews the current state of the Digital Accountability and Transparency Act (DATA Act) and how federal agencies can lay the groundwork for compliance.

The law opens up federal spending data to be consolidated, aggregated and published. This way, it can used as a resource by government entities, grant recipients and the public, as well as help funders and watchdogs pinpoint fraud and misuse.

DATA Act implementation, however, will also have a trickle-down effect on federal grant reporting, requiring more organized and automated methods to track spending and fund allocation. There is an imminent need for grantors and recipients to adjust the way they manage and report on grants to comply with new regulations.

What’s In the Report?

To compile the in-depth report, Forrester Research interviewed six vendor and user organizations—one of which was StreamLink Software.

The report sheds light on DATA Act mandates, lays out the four-year implementation plan, explores the funding and resource impact, and provides actionable recommendations for organizations and agencies to ready themselves. It aims to help maximize the lead-time between DATA Act signage and full implementation.

Best-advised organizations will address skills, process and funding gaps before regulation and compliance measures take full effect.

Key Takeaways

Key takeaways from the report include:

  • A realistic DATA Act implementation timeline has been set. It is the responsibility of organizations and agencies to learn and understand what is expected of them.
  • The timeline may seem long, but acting now will save organizations and agencies trouble later. Prepare for success by addressing skills, process and funding gaps.
  • While the mandate is unfunded, and will bring upfront costs, improvements to data management and reporting will save money over time.
  • Organizations must be proactive and develop a thorough DATA Act readiness plan that includes active involvement in the standardization process, CIO/CFO collaboration, creation of an implementation point person and team, and identification of existing data gaps within your organization.

For more on how you can prepare for DATA Act implementation, purchase a copy of the report on Forrester’s website.

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