Tuesday, July 26, 2016
A recent forum of public and private sector CIOs and IT leaders identified a wide variety of effective practices.

Federal Chief Information Officers, like their private sector CIO counterparts, lead the integration of information technology and organizational strategy.  CIOs must balance the daily needs of operational IT across their enterprise with how IT can contribute to longer term mission goals – including how government can best serve citizens with modern technology platforms, and protecting the nation from physical and cyber threats – while at the same time overseeing policy and resources for IT in a challenging fiscal environment.  U.S. Government CIOs are also in the midst of working with their C-Suite colleagues to implement the Federal Information Technology and Acquisition Reform Act (FITARA) , which strengthens the role of CIOs in budgeting and acquisition and fosters a governance framework for IT, functional, and mission leaders across agencies.

Given the expanding role for CIOs to help drive IT toward addressing key mission objectives, the Center for The Business of Government recently hosted a CIO Leadership Forum with several dozen public and private sector IT and c-suite leaders.  This non-attribution session promoted candid dialogue across government and industry for how CIOs can best drive change in their organizations, in three specific domains:

  • Modernizing IT given aging infrastructures, leveraging the rapid growth in modern cloud, analytic, and cognitive platforms;
  • Making cybersecurity actionable, rather than compliance-oriented; and
  • Capitalizing on the revolution in mobile computing, which has been the source of great advances in how citizens and governments interact anywhere and anytime.

This is the first of several blogs that will address key points arising from the CIO Leadership Forum discussion – following this introductory overview post, each of the three topics above will be addressed in turn over the next two weeks.

To start, participants discussed general considerations for how CIOs and IT leaders can most effectively work across the C-suite in delivering value to any organization, public or private.  Key findings included:

  • Focus on data that can indicate organizational performance and service quality – while IT can change over time, analysis of the data produced on IT platforms can lead to insights that often go unobserved.
  • As data comes to an organization from multiple new sources, including mobile and even “wearable” devices, privacy protections must be addressed to protect that data and retain citizen, consumer, and employee trust.
  • At the same time, it is important for CIOs to lead in understanding the value of new technologies and how they can best be adapted to support agency and company missions.  This includes a focus on mobile platforms as a base for new applications, since a growing number of users access information via mobile devices rather than on a traditional desktop computer.
  • Adopting new approaches to technology design and implementation -- including agile and “dev ops” environments, which have been increasingly leveraged by government CIO and digital services teams in following commercial best practice.  These can enable CIOs and their government and industry colleagues to provide cost-effective and rapid benefits.
  • Finding talented IT professionals is a challenge, and organizations should identify how best to build an effective IT workforce – including partnering with educational institutions to strengthen computer science and other engineering disciplines.

We will continue to identify key findings from the Roundtable in upcoming posts, and look forward to dialogue around these critically important issues for how CIOs in government and industry can learn from one another.


Image courtesy of KROMKRATHOG at FreeDigitalPhotos.net