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The 3 Pillars of Washington State’s Enterprise Data Strategy

Washington’s first chief data officer, Irene Vidyanti, outlines the three main components of the state’s nascent enterprise data program, which will ultimately work together in a “symbiotic relationship.”

Washington CDO Irene Vidyanti wearing a green and pink top. Gray background.
Government Technology/David Kidd
Irene Vidyanti became Washington’s first chief data officer this past March, part of the state’s new Architecture and Innovation Division within Washington Technology Solutions (WaTech). The office is part of the agency’s push toward using data to build a connected government that offers a uniform experience for residents, she said at the National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) Annual Conference in Minneapolis last week.

And Washington isn’t alone: NASCIO’s 2023 State CIO Survey found that 69 percent of states report being at the beginning stages of their enterprise data management work, while just 27 percent say their work in this area is “mature.”

In a conference session on data governance, Washington CIO Bill Kehoe said that when it comes to getting funding for these programs, “we’re not telling the story about how important data is,” adding that they need to better partner with other state agencies to tell that story.

“How are we even defining our information management journey?” he asked. “What’s the vision? And what’s the value and the benefits?”

As WaTech looks to build out a data program that will serve all branches of state government and deliver on that value, Vidyanti outlined the three major components of her agency’s plan, with a metaphor likening it to parts of the human body: the enterprise data program (the brain); the enterprise data platform (the central nervous system); and a robust data governance plan (the immune system).

An important tenet of Vidyanti’s philosophy is that “data governance cannot exist in isolation,” meaning that it’s part of an interconnected system that underpins state government.

“I think this is a very symbiotic system,” Vidyanti said. “And this is one where I just don’t see how data governance can realize [its] mission … without working very closely with the business and technology governance side of things.”
Lauren Kinkade is the managing editor for Government Technology magazine. She has a degree in English from the University of California, Berkeley, and more than 15 years’ experience in book and magazine publishing.
Noelle Knell is the executive editor for e.Republic, responsible for setting the overall direction for e.Republic’s editorial platforms, including <i>Government Technology</i>, <i>Governing</i>, <i>Industry Insider, Emergency Management</i> and the Center for Digital Education. She has been with e.Republic since 2011, and has decades of writing, editing and leadership experience. A California native, Noelle has worked in both state and local government, and is a graduate of the University of California, Davis, with majors in political science and American history.