Smart Enterprise Magazine

Volume 7, Number 3, 2013

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Smart Industry MODERN CIOs GIVING GOVERNMENT THE BUSINESS | By Bob Violino 22 SMARTENTERPRISEMAG.COM W IMAGE: KIM KULISH Public sector IT leaders are under the same intense pressures as their private sector counterparts. If anything, even more. hile IT in the business world is being transformed at rocket speeds, it's easy to imagine that IT in the public sector moves slower than an old-fashioned mule cart. But nothing could be further from the truth. In fact, CIOs and other IT leaders at federal, state and local government agencies worldwide are going through just as many changes, and just as quickly, as their business counterparts. They too must embrace new technologies that include mobility, social media and cloud computing to increase efficiencies, broaden engagement with citizens, and support more open and transparent delivery of government services. If anything, public sector CIOs actually have it harder. They face even more stringent limitations than many private sector CIOs. These limitations include fast-declining tax revenue (and, therefore, limited budgets); long, cumbersome and complicated approval processes; and overburdened staffs. "Compared with the private sector, I'm not in the business of making money," says Brigadier General Kevin Nally, CIO of the U.S. Marine Corps. "We're a fighting organization, so I don't have a profit at the end of the year that I can invest into IT, the way companies do." (See sidebar, p. 27.) Yet these combined factors are requiring public sector CIOs to act less like state bureaucrats and more like captains of industry. Government CIOs now are less likely to focus on infrastructure building and project launching, and more on managing an increasingly complex set of societal and technological dynamics. "It's even more important in these days of decreasing budgets that the [public sector] CIO become much more business-focused," says Jonathan Alboum, Executive in Charge of IT Consolidation for the U.S. General Services Administration (GSA), and a former CIO at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. "I have become focused on providing people with 'simple IT' to help them get their jobs done." What's more, says Chris Smith, Federal Chief Technology and Innovation Officer at consultants Accenture, the most successful public sector CIOs will be adept at optimizing and tailoring services across the enterprise to provide well-aligned business and program

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