March 14, 2024

The Department of Energy’s Considerations and Use of Data Analytics

The enormous volume of data generated by Federal agencies, including the Department of Energy, requires effective data management and lends itself to the use of data analytics—the application of data science to draw insights from data.  A successful data management and analytics strategy allows officials to make better and more informed decisions about agency operations.  For instance, the use of data analytics allows an organization to evaluate transactional data in support of decision making regarding program operations, resource allocations, risk management, and mission outcomes.  The Department has an excellent opportunity to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of its programs by harnessing data to draw insights on performance and compliance.

We initiated this review to introduce the legal framework and leading practices supporting the use of data access, management, and analytics while highlighting past oversight efforts related to the insufficient use of data analytics within the Department.

While Federal efforts to promote information as a valuable national resource and strategic asset have increased, the Department often lacks the data necessary to make critical decisions, evaluate and effectively manage risks, or gain visibility into program results.  The Department relies on contractors to execute much of its diverse mission, creating a decentralized environment in which authoritative source data may be uncollected or is collected and stored in various systems and databases throughout the complex.  This presents data access, management, and analytics challenges that hinder the Department’s ability to enhance data-driven decision making, detect fraud, and ensure appropriate stewardship of Federal resources.  
The Department often lacks the data necessary to make critical decisions, evaluate and effectively manage risks, or gain visibility into program results.  

The report offers prospective considerations for the Department to advance the integrity, management excellence, and oversight of Department programs with the use of data analytics.  Management concurred with each of the prospective considerations in our report, and its comments and planned corrective actions are responsive to our considerations.