Government Technology Cannot Scale Without Data Standardization
Data standardization really means using the same forms. That's all it means. Basically, data has variables. It comes in many forms. This data often comes within a range of forms. Now, what are you going to do with that data? You’re going to have to plug it into a specific structure that doesn't change. If people get peace of mind or get some sort of reassurance that this is happening, they can then take data source from one level of government and apply it to influence decisions at another level of government. This makes government processes move faster. A lot of people are saying that this is a serious problem as far as government technology is concerned because there is a tremendous cultural resistance to this. There are people who are scared that they will lose jobs. There are bureaucrats who are scared that they might lose their department’s budget. It all really boils down to the concept of self-preservation. This applies both to individuals as well as groups or organizations. Just as people fear change, so do organizations. Accordingly, they have all the incentive in the world to drag their feet. They have all the reasons in the world to insist on different forms to slow down the rate of data standardization. This is part of human nature. If you've got a great thing going, you probably will put up quite a fight to keep the gravy train chugging along. Who can really blame you? That is human nature.
So, as an advocate for government data integration and standardization, we have to be prepared for this. We have to assume that this is how people would respond because this is human nature.
Instead of wishing and hoping that people would automatically and magically stop thinking about their own vested self-interests and structural biases, we should just call a spade a spade. We should just confront reality and look reality straight in the eye.
Reality is that people will try to sabotage this. People will try to slow it down. There are all sorts of structural incentives that would get in the way.
Instead of fearing that confrontation, you should just step up and remove the incentives.
Maybe we should restructure how governmental agency at the state and local as well as municipal levels work together to ensure better data standardization. In other words, how do we tweak bureaucratic incentives to push the whole project further along instead of putting up one road block after another because people are scared that they will lose jobs or budgets.
Do you see how this works? Government technology cannot scale without the standardization. That much is true. However, for this to happen, we need to remove the disincentives or negative incentives currently in place that prevents scaling.
Government technology is crucial because there is already technology in different jurisdictions in many parts of the United States that can play a big role in making age-old problems in your neck of the woods go away. However, the data needs to get there.