It is unusual to find someone with twenty years of experience in the U.S. Army culminating in a position as the Chief Data Officer of the United States Army Futures Command. However, even rarer to find a person with a PhD. in systems engineering and multiple awards for systems engineering achievement. Yet, we did.
Today, we are joined by Dr. Portia Crowe, Chief Data Strategist, Defense, and Applied Intelligence Accenture Federal Services. We are going to try to take that mountain of experience and distill it into a thirty-minute interview. The discussion focused on federal data strategy and best practices to achieve digital transformation in the federal government.
Dr. Crowe’s challenges have not been insignificant – she had to work in environments where bandwidth is severely limited, even without communications. As a result, her lessons are even more applicable in a federal environment where cloud capabilities and high-speed Internet abound.
Her first observation was that no matter how hard you try to implement artificial intelligence and machine learning, it will not work if you do not have the infrastructure to manage it. She mentions data in the size of petabytes and exabytes to emphasize how today’s massive data can overwhelm many federal systems.
Secondly, she agrees with the observation that has been made that the speed of moving to the cloud is primarily determined by the number of professionals in that project. This second bottleneck can be addressed by partnering with organizations with a deep bench in cloud transition and artificial intelligence.
Finally, structuring large data sets is key to deriving knowledge from them. You must think through concepts like attributes, performance, and scalability for each data set. A strong framework is key to properly classifying data to allow for optimal use.
At the end of the interview, she sounded an optimistic note when it comes to applying artificial intelligence to federal data problems. It is reassuring to discover a person with “in the trenches” experience combined with strong academic credentials to be positive about the future.
If you enjoyed this article, you may want to listen to episode #13 Cloud Collisions: Insights on Managing Federal Clouds.