Mr. Moore is Chief Information Officer for the state of Georgia and Executive Director of the Georgia Technology Authority.
During the recent Government IT Leadership Forum hosted by InformationWeek in Washington, D.C., it was clear that the federal government struggles with many of the same technology challenges we face here in Georgia. According to a presentation by Vivek Kundra, the federal CIO, the priorities for his office are:
- Data center consolidation (with a focus on cloud computing)
- Project management
- Cyber security
Sounds familiar, doesn’t it? The federal government sees that a consumption-based model for infrastructure services can help agencies manage costs and growth more effectively than they can today. It sees the impact of poorly managed projects in terms of taxpayer dollars wasted and unrealized process improvements. The federal government acknowledges that cyber security is a dynamic process defending against a dynamic threat.
These observations are not rocket science, and it is hard for us to gauge the effectiveness of the federal government’s efforts from where we sit. What was apparent, though, was the maturity of thought that federal CIOs who presented at this conference were bringing to their operations. One CIO said that he would never start a project without project management and independent verification and validation (IV&V) support, and he builds those costs into all of his project budgets. Dr. Dan Ross from the National Institute of Standards and Technology said there is “no such thing as a secure system in today’s world. All we can do is manage risk.”
In another panel with CIOs from the Department of Housing and Urban Development, the Department of Energy, and the Veterans Administration, one CIO said that from the standpoint of managing technology and technology projects, they were all doing the same thing, so why not collaborate?
As the state of Georgia continues down its path towards a mature technology enterprise, we can learn a few things from CIOs at the federal level:
- Accept best practices for technology management (i.e., infrastructure consolidation, IV&V for projects) and support those best practices in your agencies;
- Recognize the risks we face through technology, and educate agency leadership on those risks;
- Acknowledge that all agencies, though serving different customers, perform many similar functions in the management of technology and technology projects, so why not collaborate?
In the public and private sectors, the role of the CIO is playing an increasingly important role in the decision making process. As a state, and as agencies, are we doing all we can to ensure that IT has a seat at the table? We are making progress, but we have much to learn from our federal counterparts.