Bits and Bytes Blog
2021 Year in Review
Monday, January 3, 2022
2021 was a year of pandemic, hope, and COVID-19 vaccination. The ODGA team had many changes in 2021 so let’s look back and see how far the team has come.
While the ODGA Communications team was building a social media presence, former CDO Carlos Rivero and Deputy/Interim CDO Marcus Thornton worked to support the COVID-19 vaccine administration for the Commonwealth of Virginia. This included consolidating all 35 of the local health districts' vaccine management systems, and the creation of vaccinate.virginia.gov.
The Open Data Portal was also optimized for a better look and more user-friendly experience.
In March, ODGA assisted the Virginia Department of Health with the COVID-19 vaccine pre-registration system.
Before we knew it, April of 2021 was here! Communications, Outreach and Engagement manager Loren Gonzalez was nominated for the State Up and Comer Statescoop award, while former CDO Carlos Rivero was nominated for the Golden Gov Statescoop award.
The Bits and Bytes Newsletter also reached over 1,000 subscribers. Want to know what’s in the newsletter? Subscribe to find out!
May was a time of growth for the office. Eight new contract staff members joined the ODGA team. We are now a team of 12 complete with a Data Curation Lead, Power BI Specialist, Technical Project Manager, Data Engineer, System Administrator, Database Administrator, Data Analytics Specialist, and Technical Project Coordinator. Meet the staff here.
During this time, the Virginia State Police were mandated to make their Community Policing Data public. ODGA helped them turn around a stellar dashboard in a matter of weeks on the Open Data Portal. When asked about working with ODGA and the Open Data Portal, the Virginia State Police said, “VSP was able to quickly, and easily, utilize the Open Data Portal to aggregate data required by the Community Policing Act two months prior to the deadline. Simple visualizations, easy modification, and providing a centralized webpage for both agencies and the public was our goal; without the Open Data Portal this project would not have come to fruition.”
Remember in April when Loren Gonzalez and former CDO Carlos Rivero were nominated for Statescoop awards? Well, in June 2021, they both won!
On the technical side, the ODGA team established a Robotic Processing Automation (RPA) solution. The RPA solution was used to automate ingestion of COVID-19 vaccine management data from different Virginia health districts.
On July 1st, the Office of Data Governance and Analytics was established as an official office within the Secretary of Administration. Hear former CDO Carlos Rivero announce the office here.
Becoming an official office filled the team with drive and determination. Also in July, ODGA launched the Commonwealth of Virginia Entity Resolution for Enterprise Data (CoVERED)solution. CoVERED ingests two data streams separating the attributes that identify individuals (PII) from those that characterize the government services they receive by leveraging partnerships with executive branch agencies and other organizations through the Commonwealth Data Trust, a safe, secure, and legally compliant information sharing environment that establishes consistent requirements for trust members through a standardized data sharing agreement process.
In September 2021, former CDO Carlos Rivero earned a spot on the State Tech Influencer list.
October was a productive month! On October 7th-8th ODGA hosted the 2021 Virtual Virginia Datathon in partnership with the Library of Virginia. The theme this year was “Addressing Hunger through Bits and Bytes.” There were 23 teams, totaling 118 participants! The teams were from private organizations, GMU, VCU, Deep Run High School, U of R, Norfolk, VDOT, SCHEV, and William and Mary.
Even with all the buzz of the Datathon, there was still work to be done. ODGA leveraged their Data-Intelligence-As-A-Solution to create a Fraud Detection Analytics Solution for the Virginia Employment Commission. The Virginia Employment Commission provided this feedback about the Fraud Detection Analytics Solution: “The Virginia Employment Commission (VEC) partnered with the Office of Data Governance and Analytics (ODGA) to host a fraud data analytics solution that VEC and a private vendor developed. This solution was designed to enable the VEC to quickly identify and investigate fraudulent and potentially fraudulent claims for unemployment compensation. Work on developing the solution began in early March, and it was deployed on July 31, 2021. During the first three weeks of its use, the VEC was able to identify 1,675 claims that displayed significant characteristics of fraud. This enabled the agency to target investigation resources on those claims that had a potential dollar value of $11.1 million. On August 19, the VEC was able to use this tool to identify and shut down 249 claims that were the direct result of a "bot" attack by a criminal element. The tool has proven very effective. Our partnership with the OGDA was extremely important to the speed with which we were able to deploy this solution since we were able to leverage the OGDA's existing infrastructure and development tools.”
But wait, there’s more! The first Virginia Data Advisory Commission (VDAC) meeting was held in October as well. During this meeting, members selected a chair, vice chair, approved the charter, and went over the annual report.
November of 2021 brought big changes to ODGA. Former CDO Carlos Rivero informally retired from state government. Deputy CDO Marcus Thornton took on the role of Interim CDO for the remainder of 2021. Hear the announcement and read the blog post. Get to know Interim CDO Marcus Thornton here.
In addition to this big news, ODGA also hosted the November 2021 VDAC meeting. The members approved the VDAC Annual Report which will be submitted to the General Assembly in 2022.
In December, the Roadmap to End Hunger Dashboard was made available in the Open Data Portal. Take a look!
2021 proved to be a year of growth for the Office of Data Governance and Analytics. We are excited to see what the future holds and what we will accomplish in 2022!