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Role of the CIO - Spring 2008

Role of the CIO - Spring 2008

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Published by Lisa Nelson
This edition presents the views of 17 individuals who understand the role of the CIO in 21st century government. They are the IT leaders of nations, states, federal agencies, and municipalities and thought leaders who have worked with CIOs and who have seen how important effective IT is to modern governing.
This edition presents the views of 17 individuals who understand the role of the CIO in 21st century government. They are the IT leaders of nations, states, federal agencies, and municipalities and thought leaders who have worked with CIOs and who have seen how important effective IT is to modern governing.

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Published by: Lisa Nelson on Oct 06, 2009
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The Role of the GovernmentChief Information Officer 
Intergovernmental Solutions Newsletter
GSA Office of Citizen Services and Communications
Continued on next page...
Issue 21 • Spring 2008
TheIntergovernmental Solutions Newsletter is produced twice a year by the GSA Intergovernmental Solutions Division, GSA Office of Citizen Services and Communications; Lisa Nelson, Editor. Send comments and suggestions to: lisa.nelson@gsa.gov.
nOctober 2007,
Magazine celebrated the 20th anniversary of itsinaugural issue by looking back on how the role of the CIO, or chief infor-mationofficer, had changed since 1987. Carl Wilson, now CIO of MarriottInternational, traced the emergence of the IT professional from data pro-cessing managers to business leaders “with a meaningful seat at the table.”Today,CIOs “are accountable not only for using technology to enable busi-nessprocesses but also for helping shape the strategic direction of ourcompanies and driving profitability,” he said. “We are now expected to bebusinessleaders foremost,” positioned “to achieve the real value of IT.”Therole of the public-sector CIO, in states, municipalities, and federalagencies, and in countries around the world, has been developing in thesame fashion, and at the same pace, but lagging behind the private sector.As in business, CIOs were initially viewed as the managers of an organiza-tion’s computers, but have since grown in stature to be mission-criticalenablers and important strategists. They guard the gateway to innovation—that ephemeral and ill-defined quality that is seen as the key to the future.They are now expected to achieve quantum-leap efficiencies, produce pre-viously unheard-of capabilities, create information out of disparate datasets, and provide citizen services that are so fast, accurate, and user-friend-ly that the public’s trust in government achieves record heights.Leaders are looking to new technologies to make their operations moreeconomical and more effective by harnessing this relentless force that isaccelerating dramatically with use of the Internet and the world-wide adop-tion of Web-based technologies. Following close on the heels of electroniccommerce, electronic government has become a prime tool for transform-ing the business of government and improving the delivery of citizen serv-ices.The role of CIO in the federal government was formally created by pas-sage of the Clinger-Cohen Act of 1996. It centralized authority for IT in the
The Role of theGovernment CIO
By Darlene MeskellDirector, GSA Intergovernmental SolutionsGSA Office of Citizen Services and CommunicationsU.S. General Services Administration
Darlene Meskell
GSA Intergovernmental Solutions,Office of Citizen Services and Communication
Karen Evans
 Administrator, E-Governmentand Information Technology, OMB
Mark Forman
Partner, IT Advisory, KPMG LLP
Sharon S. Dawes
SeniorFellow, Center for Technology in Government
Senior Fellow, IBM Center for the Business of Government
Teri Takai
CIO,Stateof California
P.K. Agarwal
CIO, State of California
Wanda M. Gibson
 Director & Chief Technology Officer,Fairfax County, Virginia
Corporate CIO & Chief Strategist-Service Delivery,Government of Ontario, Canada
Jerry Mechling
Faculty Chair, Leadership for a Networked World,Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University
Doug Robinson and Eric Sweden
Executive Director and Enterprise Architect,National Association of State CIOs
Ken Cochrane
CIO,Government of Canada
John Suffolk
CIO, Government of the United Kingdom
Anthony D. Williams
Vice President, Government 2.0, New Paradigm
Morley Winograd
Executive Director, Institute for Communication and Technology Management,University of Southern California, Marshall 
Douglas Merrill
Vice President, Engineering and CIO,Google, Inc.
Gerry McGovern
Web Consultant and Author 
Bill Vajda
CIO,U.S. Department of Education
Continued on next page...
White House Office of Managementand Budget (OMB) and consolidatedexisting responsibilities for technologymanagement in the new position of CIOin federal agencies.APresidential Executive Order wasissued that same year requiring agen-cies to establish CIOs
“…with the visibility and managementresponsibilities necessary to advisethe agency head on the design, devel-opment, and implementation of thoseinformation systems…and to promoteacoordinated, interoperable, secure,and shared Governmentwide infra-structure that is provided and sup- plied by a diversity of private sector suppliers and a well-trained corps of information technology profession-als.”
It also created the federal CIOCouncil as the principal interagencyforum for improving the design, mod-ernization, use, sharing, and perform-anceof federal information resources.Since then, the role of the federalCIO has been shaped by the govern-ment’s increased investment in IT (upto $68 billion in 2008) and its increasedreliance on information technology todo the business of government. Therecognition of growing threats to cyber-security, physical security, and individ-ual privacy and of the need forinteroperability and communicationamong government agencies at alllevels has only intensified the signifi-cance of the CIO’s role.The trend towardconsolidation of back-office systems toachieve multiple efficiencies and theneed to adopt constantly changing tech-nologies to maintain effectiveness haveadded complexities, as has the coming-of-age of portentous IT managementissues such as “green IT,” “e-discov-ery” and records management, and “e-democracy.”This newsletter presents the viewsof 17 individuals who understand therole of the CIO in 21st century govern-ment. They are the IT leaders of nations,states, federal agencies, and munici-palities. They are thought leaders whohave worked with CIOs and who haveseen how important effective IT is tomodern governing. They have differingperspectives, with some highlightingthe qualities of the individual whoserves as CIO and others focusing onthe CIO’s place in the organization.Most take a long view of the CIO as indis-pensable to government in the future,with an ever-expanding leadership func-tion. And many agree with
,the OMB administrator for e-government and IT, that “in this posi-tion you must be able to do three thingswell: masterITpolicy, commit to results,andfocus on transparency and account-ability.”
Mark Forman
,her predeces-sor in the job, views the role somewhatmore expansively, however, as“rationalizing, securing and integrat-ing an enterprise’s vital information.”
Sharon Dawes
,former director ofthe Center for Technology inGovernment at the University of Albany,lays out the qualities of the governmentCIO. Drawing on her 30 years workingwith government IT professionals, shedescribes how the role of the CIO hasevolved from chief IT coordinator, chiefstandards enforcer, and chief IT bud-geter, to chief IT strategist, chief ITpolicy advisor, and, most recently, chiefsecurity officer. This combination, shesays, “demands a set of competenciesthat cover more territory than wedemand from most other leadershippositions.”
Marty Wagner
,formerly the feder-al government’s chief official in chargeof IT policy (now at the IBM Center forthe Business of Government), framesthe debate about the role of the CIO thisway: The CIO “is frequently offered asafix to the government’s informationtechnology or service delivery prob-lems,” he writes. “The discussion tendsto then move on to what kind of CIO—strategic or hands-on implementer,technically oriented or business-focused—and the ubiquitous ‘seat at thetable’ of the senior management team.So the issue is less what kind of CIO andmore how to attract someone with theright talents and organizing a govern-ment agency to leverage those talents.”California just recently named itsfirst CIO with responsibility for ITpolicy—
Teri Takai
.Writing here fromthe perspective of her previous positionasCIO of Michigan and head of theNational Association of State CIOs, sheoffers her view that the possibilities are“endless” ifdecision-makers are will-ingtogivethe CIO a seat at the seniorleadership table.
P.K. Agarwal
,California’sChief Technology Officer,viewsexecutive sponsorship and strongleadership as essential to the successofagovernment IT program.Manycontributors echo their beliefthat it is essential for the CIO to be partof senior leadership. A former adminis-trator of the U.S. General ServicesAdministration who appointed GSA’sfirst CIO, used to call for the CIO to be“joined at the hip” with the head of theagency.The CIO is the one position at theexecutive table with a full view of howthe organization operates, according to
Wanda Gibson
,CIO/CTO of FairfaxCounty, Virginia. To leverage that posi-tion, the CIO needs to focus on under-standing the business, its programs,legislation, and policy—not just hands-on operations, she writes.
,who holds the dualtitle of corporate CIO and chief strate-gist-service delivery for the Province of
CIOs are now expected to achieve quantum-leap efficien-cies, produce previously unheard-of capabilities, createinformation out of disparate data sets, and provide citi-zen services that are so fast, accurate, and user-friendlythat the public’s trust in government achieves record heights.
Ontario, helped create a technologyinfrastructure that is a major departurefrom the government’s traditionalapproach of organizing activities byministries. This “corporate CIO” modelis designed to strengthen links betweentechnology and the government’s busi-ness directions, to enhance leadershipand coordination at the corporate level,and to have an expanding role in infor-mation management and service deliv-ery.An increasingly important aspect ofthe CIO’s job is the role of innovator andagent of change. CIOs who support aculture of experimentation and innova-tion are critical to the future of technol-ogy in government, according to
,director of the Leadershipfor a Networked World Program atHarvard University’s Kennedy SchoolofGovernment. Government CIOs mustbecome effective members of the lead-ership team and “trusted agents of inno-vation and change,” he writes, callingon CIOs—as a community—to make iteasier to monitor emerging applicationsanddisseminate innovative technolo-gies.The National Association of StateCIOs statesinawhite paper that theroleofthe state CIO is to transform gov-ernment through change management ,andoffers10 “calls to action” to helpCIOs become change leaders.The stateCIO “must be seen within state govern-ment as a change leader who leads andfacilitates government organizationaltransformation efforts in support of andin coordination with the agenda of thegovernment, the state legislature andthe state judiciary,” according to
CIOs around the world are keen totake advantage of the emerging Web 2.0technologies to give government thetools and connectedness of the NetGeneration, and create a Government2.0.
Ken Cochrane
,CIO for the gov-ernment of Canada, believes the greatchallenge to his successor will be “tolook further into the future and to plan,develop, and implement the next gener-ation of government—Government 3.0.”
John Suffolk
,his counterpart inthe United Kingdom, agrees. “The riseof technologies like Web 2.0 and socialnetworking offers many opportunitiesto improve the communication betweencitizen and state, to develop new andresponsive service offerings for thosewho often have no choice but to use ourservices, and to build new partnershipswith intermediaries,” he writes.
Anthony Williams
,who, withDonaldTapscott, is partnering with gov-ernments around the world to define anddesign Government 2.0, writes abouthow “the new function-rich infrastruc-ture of Web 2.0 provides public sectorCIOs withsignificant opportunities toinfuseinnovation into the business ofdelivering services.”“Thesenewapproaches to thedesignof government programs andtheir delivery will only happen if we haveimaginative, innovative CIOs in placeatevery level of government, proddingand pushing their leaders to create agovernment equal to the task of govern-ing in a Web 2.0 world,” says
,director of the NationalPerformance Review during the 1990sand author of
Millennial Makeover:MySpace, YouTube and the Future of  American Politics
.“CIOs will have to beboth teachers to their governmentbosses and enablers to their target serv-ice populations.”
Douglas Merrill
,CIO of Google(recently designated the World’s MostInnovative Company by
Fast Company
Magazine), calls on government CIOsto look for opportunities to approachold problems in new ways, with “a com-mitment to helping their users, a freshapproach to security, and a relentlesspursuit of solutions to ‘solved’ prob-lems.”The CIO should be concerned withthe quality of the information he or shecontrols and whether it meets the needsof citizens and other users, Web con-tent consultant
Gerry McGovern
writes from Northern Ireland. “Thegreat (management guru) PeterDrucker once said that we’ve spent thelast 50 years focusing on the ‘T’ in IT,and we’ll spend the next 50 years focus-ing on the ‘I.’ It is my experience thatprecious few IT professionals under-stand the true value of information/con-tent.”
,CIO fortheU.S.Department of Education, takes a broadview of the role, reaching back to theearlydaysoftheAmerican Republic,whentherole might have been termed“Chief Scribe.” Attributing the effec-tivenessoftoday’s CIOs to those whohavegone before, Vajda sums up therole of the CIO in government as being“like standing on the shoulders ofgiants, and enjoying the view.”
 Darlene Meskell is Director of Intergovernmental Solutions in the GSAOfficeofCitizen Services and Communications. For additional informa-tion contact lisa.nelson@gsa.gov.

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