Why does the State of Hawai‘i need a chief data officer?

Mar 18, 2019

By Transform Hawaii Government

Making informed decisions about the future of Hawaii requires that decision-makers, both within and external of government, have access to empirical data. In fact, data governance is among the top 10 priorities of chief information officers across all states, according to the National Association of State Chief Information Officers.
That’s why THG identified bills like HB 532 HD1 as being among the most important pieces of legislation this year. This bill will establish a chief data officer and data task force to develop, implement and manage statewide data set policies, procedures and standards.
Back in 2012, the State of Hawaii launched its official data website, data.hawaii.gov, to increase public accessibility to public data. However, the initiative lacked dedicated personnel to lead the government effort in data management and sharing with the public, and continued in a decentralized manner typical of many state governments. As a result, opportunities for integration were severely limited, data continued to be fragmented, seldomly refreshed, hard to find and less than accessible.
THG believes dedicated resources are needed to work with all branches and departments of Hawaii state government in the development of a long-term open data strategy. This includes facilitating sharing of data between state agencies, where possible, so that that service providing agencies, policymakers, state employees, local residents and businesses have convenient and secure access to reliable information and data on demand. 
Several agencies and data advocates have expressed support

“The Department (of Education) would like to ensure that data sharing efforts are aligned to the existing federal, state, and Board of Education reporting and privacy requirements. We look forward to the opportunity to collaborate with the Office of Enterprise Technology Services and the state’s Chief Data Officer to increase access to K-12 educational data while protecting the privacy of our students, complying with reporting mandates, and other matters unique to K-12 educational data.”

Hawaii Department of Education

“These bills … would increase availability of data held by state agencies both to the public at large and to other agencies.”

Hawaii Office of Information Practices

“Progress toward more efficient and publicly accessible government requires personnel focused exclusively on government data. Open and transparent government data cannot be an afterthought or it will never happen.”

– The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest

“In order to recommend and create strong policies, we believe it is vital to have open, consistent sources of data … Investments in data are the bedrock to good governance. If not, the State will continue to open itself up to being penny wise and pound-foolish. Investing a relatively small amount of money upfront can result in significant long-term savings and efficiencies.” ­

Ulupono Initiative

“We believe a well-resourced chief data officer provides our state the opportunity to implement an open data environment that will help us make more informed decisions to ensure transparency and grow innovation solutions to our most urgent environmental problems, including sectors we enable: energy, water, agriculture, mobility, and the circular economy.”

Elemental Excelerator