The seventeenth agency in the community is the Data Agency. The agency is part of the Data Bureau, which also has the Accounting and QHSE Agencies. The department’s primary objective is to process and avail information that other agencies and participants use to enhance efficiency, financial decision-making, and the safety of participants, as well as environmental conservation.

The Data Management Agency’s primary aim is to manage information in a way that ensures it is properly collected, processed, stored, and accessed. The agency ensures that data is easily accessible, accurate, and complete while ensuring its security.[1] By deploying cloud computing and blockchain technologies to manage data, the agency will have versatile tools at its disposal, to ensure that its presence enhances the community’s overall efficiency, rather than hindering it.[2]  

The agency’s roles are automated in such a way that enables them to be participant-driven; participants initiate contact with the system. In instances where participants are unable to receive the services they need from the system, they turn to the departmental agents, who offer direct help. The departmental agents also relay any necessary changes to the agency president for review and adjustment. The agency’s automated system is able to collect, process, and store information in a way that enhances its accessibility, security, and usability. The Data Management Agency’s roles in the community are either core, which involve only the agency or coordinated with other agencies within the community.

Core Responsibilities

The Data Management Agency, by virtue of being the community’s data processor, also provides capabilities that help in decision-making (decision support systems), data security, and data presentation. Through this, the agency ensures transparency and accountability, another of the community’s cornerstones.[3] The Data Management Agency’s core responsibilities are as follows:

  • Sets up and maintains automatic systems to process, store, and enable authorized access to participants’ information
  • Sets up systems which facilitate data security
  • Trains Data Department agents on how to offer data-focused administrative support and training to agencies and participants

Information processing

Information processing involves various steps. Data is first validated, to ensure that it is complete, meaningful, and accurate when collected.[4] Validated data is then aggregated so that its future analysis can be simplified. Aggregation involves identifying statistical measures that can be used to refine data and later be used to analyze it. In the community, there will be several such measures, especially since the Human Relations Agency will have collected extensive data on participants, including health, economic, social, and other areas.[5] The process also involves data analysis, wherein the information is subjected to statistical and logical tools to illustrate and evaluate data along specific dimensions. The processing of data enables its presentation in a coherent and understandable manner.

Information security

The Data Management Agency draws up strategies and establishes automated systems through which community agencies and participants can secure their data. The agency also coordinates information security systems that secure the community’s information networks and scan the environment for potential threats that can compromise the community’s data. The agency then readies responses to such threats.[6][7] By safeguarding information, the agency protects the community’s interests, while also acting to deter misinformation and misrepresentation.

Training and support

Even though the Data Management Agency may have sophisticated and highly efficient responses to cybercrime, as well as other threats facing the community’s data, it is still necessary to incorporate other community members (agencies and participants) into its broader strategy to safeguard data. To be successful, the agency needs to support participants and agencies through training via the automatic system, so that they can acquire basic skills to secure data. The agency also trains Data Department agents to provide support to agencies and participants as they process and store their own information, ensuring this information has the main attributes of quality information, including meaningfulness, accuracy, and completeness.[8]  The agency also provides agencies and participants with decision support tools, which enhance the quality of decisions made by presenting and analyzing information in versatile and interactive ways.[9]

Coordinated Responsibilities

The coordination between the Data Management Agency and other agencies can be divided into three:

  • Horizontal coordination, with other agencies in the Data Department
  • Vertical coordination, with other agencies in the Social Integration and Support Vertical
  • Diagonal coordination, with other agencies beyond the vertical and the department

Horizontal coordination

The Data Management Agency provides financial data to Agency 17 – the Accounting Agency, which the Accounting Agency thereafter analyses and presents using its own parameters. The Data Management Agency also provides training modules on financial management and cybersecurity, in coordination with the Accounting Agency.[10] The Data Management Agency also provides Agency 18 – the QHSE Agency with the information needed to draw up responsive guidelines on safety and environmental conservation.

Vertical coordination

The Data Management Agency ensures that its data processing, storage, and access processes are within existing legal parameters.[11] The agency coordinates with Agency 13 – the Legal Services Agency in this. The Data Management Agency provides the simulations and information that participants need to complete their life planning dossiers, in coordination with Agency 4 – the Life Planning Agency. The Data Management Agency manages the automated process of sharing participant information with other agencies and, as permissible, with other participants, in coordination with the Human Relations Agency.

Diagonal coordination

The Data Management Agency sets up systems that conduct information security systems audits within the community, in coordination with Agency 15 – the Audit Agency. The Data Management Agency receives technical advice and support from the Audit Agency for this purpose. The Data Management Agency also establishes automated processes to provide Agency 2 – the Stewardships Agency with the necessary information needed to monitor the community’s business and economic trends, with the view of making any adjustments necessary to reset the economic balance. This may include changing focus from some stewardships to others, among other adjustments.

Conclusion

The Data Management Agency establishes and maintains an automated system to handle big data, which the community uses to learn and improve its systems and for knowledge management. The information processing must, therefore, be done in a way that enhances the quality of decisions made. Such information should especially emphasize completeness, meaningfulness, and accuracy. An emerging issue in information technology is cybersecurity. Handling highly sensitive information will make the agency an attractive target for cybercriminals. The agency must, therefore, ensure that its preparation and response to threats is dependable and competent to neutralize such threats.


[1] To ensure the accuracy and completeness of data, modern organizations extensively train personnel on data entry and accountability for data uploaded unto the system. Organizations also have protocols to follow which ensure information is well input, and that personnel only have the necessary rights to manipulate data. In the community, however, most data processing, apart from primary data upload by participants, will be automated. The agency will deploy blockchain technology to ensure data is not manipulated by unauthorized parties, and that there any manipulation is traceable (Sutherland, C. 3 Strategies to Maintain Data Integrity. 17 12 2018. electronic. 26 05 2019.).

[2] The community’s competitive advantage and long-term survival will be dependent on among other things, its approach to learning, knowledge management, and how it manages big data. Modern organizations have increasingly discovered the links between productivity and growth on one hand, and information processing efficiency (Ekambaram, A., et al. “The role of big data and knowledge management in improving projects and project-based organizations.” Procedia Computer Science 138.2018 (2018): 851-858.)

[3] Through the easy access to information, participants and agencies alike will be able to reach better and well-informed decisions. This approach has been used in government, where, to promote transparency and accountability, information that concerns the citizens is easily accessible and disseminated. Complete and accurate information about agencies and participants will be critical in ensuring that other agencies – including the banks – are able to make the contributions expected of them in the community (Dawes, S. “Stewardship and Usefulness: Policy Principles for Information-Based Transparency.” Government Information Quarterly 27.4 (2010): 377-383.).

[4] The data validation process ensures that information processed thereafter is of high quality. The process ensures that whatever is processed and later stored fulfills the needs of the entity. The Data Management Agency will validate data validation through a well-documented process, including checks for completeness, accuracy, complexity, and usefulness of information collected. This is especially important due to the issues associated with big data, including data management challenges (di-Zio, M. Methodology for data validation 1.0. Informational. Brussels: Essnet Validat Foundation, 2016.)

[5] Aggregated data is easy to organize, and therefore analyses. Data aggregation involves using various statistical, mathematical and probability functions to manipulate data in a way that enables more uniform analysis (Chan, H. Secure Distributed Data Aggregation. Boston: Now Publishers, 2011.).

[6] There exists a “communication gap” between developers of security systems and the users. This means that, in many cases, organizations are vulnerable to threats before they are provided with the necessary tools to fight them. The Data Management Agency should be in a place to anticipate threats, and prepare responses before they occur (Al-Hassan, M. and A. Adjei-Quaye. “Information Security in an Organization.” International Journal of Computer 24.1 (2017): 100-116.).

[7] The community data’s security will be enhanced by the use of blockchain, making it easy to trace data manipulation and access instances (Taylor, P. “A systematic literature review of blockchain cybersecurity.” Digital Communications and Networks (2019): 1-10.).

[8] The vast majority of cyber-attacks occur due to human error, suggesting that with better training and vigilance, most of them could be avoided. At the same time, only a few organizations are well equipped to handle a sophisticated cyber-attack, whose response would include both effective security systems, and a vigilance community. Training goes a long way in avoiding such threats, as well as building the capacity of individual participants’ security systems, so that they can withstand such cyber-attacks (Fraudwatch. What is Cyber Security Awareness Training and Why is it so Important? 21 12 2018. 26 05 2019.).

[9] Decision support tools and systems thrive when there is enough data to process, and arrive at quality conclusions. The Data Management Agency will supply complete and accurate information, while also training the relevant parties on how they can harness DSS to improve decision-making (Abdolhamidzadeh, B. “Perspectives in the Development and Application of DSS for Domino Assessment.” Domino Effects in the Process Industries (2013): 296-323.).

[10] As organizations become dependent on technology for financial reporting, they open up another vulnerability from cyber-criminals. The coordination between the two agencies will involve improving accounting systems in use by community agencies and participants to safeguard themselves from loss (ANSI. “the financial management of cyber risk.” 2010.).

[11] Data sharing is governed by various laws, which aim to protect individuals and companies, depending on the nature of the information – financial, health-related, etc. Sharing information may sometimes require the informed consent of the participant, in which instances the Legal Services Agency will offer the required legal advice (Yip, C., N. Han and B. Sng. “Legal and ethical issues in research.” Indian Journal of Anaesthesia 20.9 (2016): 684–688.).