Federal Government

Expanding Role for CIOs


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A recent study from the Professional Services Council and Grant Thornton found that in an era of mounting security threats and the implementation of technology acquisition reform (FITARA), CIOs are being pulled in more directions than could have been thought possible, even just a decade ago. The report found that CIOs need to be “a technologist, an innovator, an architect, a cybersecurity specialist, and mission enabler.”

Security was top on the list of CIO concerns with 28 percent of respondents noting they’ve seen a 51 to 100 percent increase in threats, particularly in terms of the number of attacks and their level of sophistication. Creating a team which can work to prevent these threats requires a deep and specialized talent base – one that 63 percent of respondents said they were not equipped to recruit or develop.

Behind security, the other top concerns were:

  • Revitalizing the workforce
  • IT Modernization
  • Acquisitions
  • Mobility

Respondents said they are looking to cloud and modular development to help them meet performance operation and efficiency goals. This includes a growing use of and interest in agile development, a methodology that has shown great promise even in its limited use in the government.

Concerning procurement, CIOs are looking for ways to streamline acquisition. They are demanding more and more for shared services as well as development of the existing acquisition workforce.

For industry, these findings show that CIOs are wearing more hats and being pushed into sometimes unfamiliar territory. Vendors should look for ways to educate the CIOs on technology available and the impacts of differing technology approaches. Being a partner in helping them figure out this brave new world of the federal CIO will go a long way in making government IT more efficient and effective for everyone.

The full report is available here.

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