With massive amounts of accumulated data (and no sign of it slowing down), coupled with increasing regulations and requirements on how to collect, store, and manage it, federal agencies face the daunting challenge of “decluttering” their data.
While transparency quickly accelerates in importance, more and more federal agency databases balloon into data warehouses, often trapping requested information within inaccessible office filing systems.
The remedy? Marie Kondo.
Taking inspiration from the “tidying up” expert, if federal agencies apply her six principles of organization to their data strategy, the result may not be a bestseller or hit show on Netflix, but it may help establish more order in the office and improve the decision-making process.
1. Order is a long-term commitment
There’s no point to any of this if you put your data in order today only for it to become a mess again tomorrow. These routines need to be integrated into your office’s daily habits and way of life. To that end, everybody on your team needs to be on board. To begin shifting to a holistic data mindset, getting buy-in from various stakeholders across every level of your agency is key to long-term success.
Start by showing leadership answers to problems using technological implementation. Use statistics or data visualization to help prove your point. Grab testimonials from the users you work with every day. Share stories. Give examples. With every small win and by repeatedly showcasing the value of organized data management, you will cultivate executive buy-in and ultimately manifest mission success.
2. Dream of the life you want
Ok, so maybe nobody dreams about data except a few of us here at Tesla Government, but just as in life, visualizing the data strategy you want helps you to achieve your goals. So before you start organizing your data (and definitely before you buy any software) imagine how you want your data to look.
Set smart goals, measure what matters, and stay on track. An organized, welcoming office space is energizing and exciting to walk into. Similarly, when you clean up your data, the more confident and productive your agency can be.
3. Start throwing things away
Marie Kondo believes we must learn to get rid of all the unnecessary things we have. Who are we to tell you what’s worth keeping and what’s not when it comes to stuff in your kitchen pantry? But we can tell you what data’s worth tossing in the bin. Unstructured or mismanaged data sets don’t just create needless busywork and administrative headaches; they lead to delayed or downright bad decision-making. So it’s critical that federal agencies get rid of outdated or redundant data. Furthermore, federal agencies need rules in place to begin the process of creating order out of chaos.
A fundamental principle of data security is data minimization: whatever information is not needed for agency operations should be deleted. It protects agencies from undue harm in case of a security breach. But data deletion policies must be followed in compliance with federal regulations, and a variety of methods exist for handling data disposal.
At Tesla Government, we know how to organize and centralize your data while also keeping your agency compliant. In fact, it’s our specialty.
4. Order by category, not location
This rule is the toughest one to follow. When people organize their homes, they tend to go room by room. But have you noticed you end up feeling like you’ll never finish? In Japanese culture, people tidy by types of objects, like food, clothes, and books. It’s fast, effective, and forces you to finish.
Similar rules apply when dealing with federal agency data, except instead of rooms, federal agencies are often forced to manage multiple platforms. Over time popular collaborative tools make it difficult to organize and store agency data in any structured or meaningful way and often lead to creating more data silos not less.
Instead, federal agencies can opt to create a centralized, sustainable information repository with a knowledge management solution and begin to proactively curate their institutional expertise. Plus, when you can see all of your data in one place, it’s easy to prioritize tasks and make sure the most important work is getting done.
5. Order for organization
There’s nothing random about Kondo’s method. Rather she insists on a specific order, like starting with clothes and ending with more sentimental items. Why? Because clothes offer tangible proof of your efforts every time you open your closet door. And the more you organize, the more you flex your decision-making muscles.
So in your agency, that might look like starting with your easier data sets, like internal file drives or individual workstations then moving on to email and instant messaging before finally tackling cloud-based environments or machine data. By organizing your data in this way, you’re empowering your people not only to work more efficiently but also allowing others to find and share your institutional knowledge.
6. Joy is the key to everything
Again, maybe it’s just us at Tesla Government, but we get downright giddy about decluttered data. You might even say it “sparks joy” for us. But the point of Marie Kondo’s philosophy is to feel at peace with the world and with yourself.
Joy, in the federal agency sense, might mean operational efficiency, overcoming historical boundaries to sharing important information, or increasing data-driven insights. Cleaning and managing data drives more effective decision-making, and that should spark joy for any federal agency.
Let Tesla Government Be Your Marie Kondo
Marie Kondo’s principles for tidying up are surprisingly relevant to federal agencies who want to better manage and share their data. But because of the sheer volume of data federal agencies create, as well as the increasing demand for transparency, it’s nearly impossible to organize, store, and categorize it on their own. That’s where Tesla Government’s experts step in. We bring more order to your office with our guided approach to organizing your digital assets, making them optimally accessible, shareable, and valuable when it comes to making mission-critical decisions.
As for your sweaters and photo albums, there’s a wildly popular Netflix show for that.
Contact us today to learn more
See what we can do for you.