For the last 30 years, I have worked at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention where I have managed, provisioned and secured public and environmental health data using platforms such as the mainframe, client/ server, web, mobile and cloud. Throughout my professional journey, data has been an asset for the CDC as it works to protect America from health, safety and security threats, both foreign and here in the United States.
As cells are the fundamental building blocks of biological systems, data is fundamental to information systems used by private industry and government agencies across the country. There is no greater asset today, besides humans, than data that is generated, captured, stored, processed and disseminated through various channels utilizing an array of technological devices. When data is merged, aggregated and/ or summarized, information can be created and then used by decision-makers to provide direction to leadership, staff and customers.
Today, data is generated at the speed of light on various smart devices like household appliances, medical equipment, transportation vehicles, cell phones and social media sites. So how is all this data useful to people who are charged to make decisions much quicker than in past years? In its raw form, the data is useless and meaningless. However, data placed in context, structured, formatted and presented to the right individuals at the right time provides powerful insight and assists with making timely and accurate decisions.
As a computer scientist, I have designed, developed and deployed some of the most data-intensive systems along with managing an IT security team to ensure the safety of that data. My office provides consultation in innovative research and science-based programs to prevent injuries and violence and to reduce their consequences. None of this would be possible without providing the right data, to the right people, in the right format, through the right channel, at the right time while continuously ensuring the security of this fundamental asset known as data.
THE FOLLOWING THREE POINTS ARE IMPERATIVE FOR MANAGING ENTERPRISE DATA AND APPLY TO ALL TYPES OF BUSINESSES:
- Constantly think/plan ahead and monitor every phase of the data management lifecycle from collection to archiving.
- Develop self-serving tools for accessing/ manipulating enterprise data and keep stakeholders and end users informed (with reoccurring meetings, etc.).
- Always be purpose-driven (make it a strategic goal) when managing enterprise data.
Melvin Crum, M.S., is Acting Associate Director of Informatics at the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, CDC. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org