New York State’s Office of Information Technology Services (ITS) today announced that Rebecca Cai will serve as the agency’s chief data officer. In this capacity at ITS, Cai will be responsible for creating the strategy, governance structure and inventory of data; increasing the capacity for New Yorkers to effectively utilize data; establishing clear processes for data sharing; and providing mechanisms to enable data analysis, as well as ensuring ongoing support continues for data efforts statewide.
“Rebecca’s extensive background in data strategy will be an asset to our client agencies and the people of New York in her role as CDO, as well as her work with the Chief Privacy Officer and Chief Information Security Officer,” Acting ITS Chief Information Officer Jennifer Lorenz said. She has the experience and leadership skills necessary to ensure this issue continues to be a priority.”
The role of CDO, which focuses on managing data as a strategic asset and putting it to its highest and best use, now exists in 28 state governments nationwide according to a report issued by the Beeck Center at Georgetown University.
Cai will direct the Chief Data Office (CDO) within ITS to promote transparency, improve government performance and enhance citizen engagement as defined in NYS Executive Order 95, “Using Technology to Promote Transparency, Improve Government Performance and Enhance Citizen Engagement.” The 2013 Executive Order directed covered state entities, for the first time, to identify and catalog their data, and make publishable state data available on the new transparency website—creating the Open NY initiative.
The state’s open data website (open.ny.gov) is dedicated to increasing public access to one of the state’s most valuable assets: data. Its goals continue to spark innovation, promote research and economic opportunities, engage public participation in government, increase transparency, and inform decision-making.
Cai will lead the development and implementation of data policies, including the open data handbook, and ensure compliance. Cai will also advise on best practices, defining standards and coordinating with the Chief Technology Officer and CISO to implement or expand the open data website or other systems to facilitate seamless, secure, data sharing among NYS and local entities to improve the operational efficiency of serving the public.
She will also provide insight to the CIO and CTO about tools, techniques, and best practices shared within the CDO community to improve delivery of data services and products to NYS government and its citizens.
“I'm very excited about the opportunity to lead and coordinate New York’s efforts around data strategy as the state deals with new and emerging privacy standards," said Cai. “I'm passionate about digital and analytics strategy and am particularly impressed with the state’s privacy-driven data focus. I look forward to applying my knowledge to help the state adapt to future changes.”
Cai holds an MBA from the University of South Carolina. She has more than 20 years of digital and data analytics experience in the private sector.