What Commerce Does:
Improve government, business, and community decisions and knowledge by transforming Department data capabilities and supporting a data-enabled economy
Data drives decisions: 7 million U.S. businesses: 93,000 tribal, state, and local governments; 320 million American people; and the federal government itself use data to make informed decisions every day. The Department provides huge quantities of this data. People use the Department’s data to gain insight into their weather and climate, their communities, and how the economy is faring. Businesses use Commerce data to make investment and hiring decisions. State and local governments mine the Department’s data to warn of coming danger, position first-responders, and construct high-tech classrooms. And the federal government uses Commerce data to allocate funds and to make critical decisions on fiscal and monetary policy. Yet more can be done—much more.
The world is at the forefront of a data revolution. The explosion of Big Data and the increasing prevalence of Open Data present enormous opportunities and challenges. There is also an increasing responsibility to protect privacy and personal information. Realizing these opportunities and overcoming the challenges is feasible only if data agencies work together to complement each other’s efforts.
The Department of Commerce is America’s data agency. Its data—government data—is comprehensive, consistent, confidential, credible, and accessible. These characteristics make government data unique, but the federal government cannot and should not be the sole producer of valuable data. Finding effective ways to meld Commerce data together with data from other sources will serve society better and maximize the returns on the Nation’s data investments.
The Department will lead the federal government in revolutionizing the approach to data. The Chief Data Officer heads the Department's efforts centralize its data strategy and improve data operations throughout the Department. The Department has also formed a Data Advisory Council to tap into the growing field of data experts: technical experts from businesses, academia, consulting firms and government will consider the vast range of issues and provide advice on how to maximize the value of existing Commerce data. These new Commerce resources will help the Department ensure its customers can:
- Easily find and consume Commerce data;
- Use the data to inform decisions;
- Leverage the data to help people and organizations accomplish their goals; and
- Trust that the Department is protecting privacy, confidentiality, and security.
By focusing on its customers and the strategic objectives supporting this goal, the Department will transform its systems into 21st-century data powerhouses—powerhouses that can help fuel the data revolution and bolster American job growth and global competitiveness.