Actionable business intelligence derived from data is how successful operational, tactical, and strategic business decisions are made. The Data Intelligence-as-a-Service is a value-added component to participating in the Commonwealth Data Trust and provides Commonwealth of Virginia agencies the infrastructure, system lifecycle administration services, and human resources needed to manage the deployment and consumption of business intelligence products. This gives agencies the ability to publish the business intelligence products they need without having to invest valuable resources to develop and manage their own DI infrastructure. Thus, allowing agencies to spend more time focusing on the services they provide to the people they serve.
The Office of the Chief Data Officer has invested in a Microsoft PowerBI test and production environment connected to a SQL server enterprise database that serves as the production business intelligence environment. This environment can also connect to other Commonwealth data repositories like the Secure Connected Government Cloud and the Open Data Portal through APIs and other production databases through data adapters on DataSAGE (Secure Analytics and Governance Environment). This service offers three main authentication schemes:
- Commonwealth of Virginia Account – specifically engineered for COV-named users within the COV network for internal use only.
- Public – this option offers public-facing, public-access reports, visualizations, and dashboards that leverage Commonwealth data assets increasing public awareness and engagement.
- Hybrid – this is a solution that combines the public-facing and named users approach. This environment is public-facing and Internet accessible but not anonymous. Users need an authorized non-COV account to login to the environment to access DI products. This is a robust capability that allows agencies with external stakeholders to provide access to privileged datasets, reports, visualizations, and/or dashboards without requiring a COV account.
By providing this infrastructure, agencies can focus on the development of reports, visualizations, and dashboards without having to worry about managing the technologies, infrastructure, or tools.
The Lifecycle Development
When agencies are ready to test what they have built, they simply send the deployment package to the Office of the Chief Data Officer for the BI infrastructure team to deploy it on the test platform. The development team from the agency and associated stakeholders will have access to the test environment to make sure everything works correctly before deploying to the production PowerBI server. This approach aligns well with system development best practices where the development teams do not have access to the test and production environments thus creating clear separation of duties between the various teams.
The Human Resources
If agencies don’t have the development resources or DI teams in house, the Office of the Chief Data Officer can help identify which statewide contracts agencies can use to engage vendors providing the services and support needed to implement their desired DI solution. In addition, the CDO has partnered with multiple academic institutions through the Commonwealth Data Internship Program to connect talented students and research faculty with state agencies. This program provides students with real-world professional experiences while using data to solve relevant agency issues.
The Data Intelligence-as-a-Service is offered to provide Commonwealth agencies the support and tools they need to make informed, data-driven decisions by leveraging data analytics and business intelligence.
Interested in learning more about PowerBI? The Office of the Chief Data Officer is happy to connect Commonwealth of Virginia employees with training opportunities that can show you how to build a PowerBI dashboard in one day. Email us for more information.
Data Documentation Process
The Data Documentation Process enables data stewards from different agencies to connect to the Enterprise Data Catalog and run a local tool that allows them to connect to their respective databases and then register the metadata for the tables and views they select. This process empowers and engages the data stewards in a meaningful way and gives them the authority to identify and register their highest value data assets.
Once the data stewards register a data asset, a project workflow is initiated, notifying the Data Team Leads on the appropriate documentation team that there are new data assets ready for documentation. The designated Data Team Lead assigns the registered data assets to their team. An example of this process are the apprentices participating in the Rural IT Apprenticeship Program. These individuals work on the data asset documentation including characteristics like descriptions, data types, business glossary tags, NIEM data elements, and data security classification tier, etc.
Once the data assets are well documented, the student apprentices tag them for review which notifies the agency data steward. If the data asset documentation is approved by the data steward it can be published into the Enterprise Data Catalog.
This workflow allows the data asset to be automatically harvested by DataSAGE and incorporated into the Enterprise Data Catalog.
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