For federal CIOs much of what they are engaged in is a melding of the old and the new. From bimodal IT, learning a new technology lexicon and maneuvering static hiring procedures, the current IT landscape is challenging CIOs and their agency success.
This week FTI editorial staff was motivated by the importance of such issues and steered our news round-up focus to the ever changing climate in government IT and how CIOs can keep up with the times to effectively follow through with agency mission.
Tony Scott, U.S. Chief Information Officer, recently alluded that his office is considering using bimodal IT to maintain legacy systems while still exploring and adopting emerging technologies.
Bimodal IT may be what some CIOs have been waiting for. The practice is set-up so that organizations can find a balance between legacy systems and newer technology, one enabling agility while the other would maintain a secure, trusted infrastructure.
At a recent event in DC, Scott shared that CIOs already find themselves dancing between new and old with “things that are the old stuff, the legacy stuff … the bread and butter stuff that runs your agency… (but) you have to have some way of managing the old stack and the new stack.”
While Tony Scott is calling for more bimodal IT, Margie Graves, Office of Management and Budget (OMB), Deputy CIO, is calling for better communication.
She as well as other federal IT leaders have begun to communicate more since the advent of FITARA; however, common terminology across agencies and verticals is still lacking. And so, OMB, with Graves’ guidance, is developing a taxonomy for a common language, making it easier for officials to understand modern IT.
Jennifer Pahlka, founder of Code for America, shares that what government CIOs really need to do is reconsider who they are hiring and for what position.
In a recent post, Pahlka examines what she calls part one of the CIO problem, focusing on the fact that not only are many agencies still learning current technology trends, but that they may also be hiring the wrong people. Add to that ambiguous and hard to differentiate titles like CIO and CFO, and you can see that despite best intentions, without the right talent in the right position, federal IT will remain stagnant.
Pahlka clarifies that “(m)ost (but not all) of the folks who reach out are looking to fill either a position for a Chief Information Officer or a Chief Innovation Officer. But both of these jobs are framed in such a way that it can be almost impossible to succeed in them…”
She ends by asserting that hiring the right people with the “responsibilities, skills, leadership characteristics, and reporting structures right is a necessary step to recruiting the right person or people…” However, she concedes that learning while doing is okay in these times of change in government IT, as long as officials continue to learn as they do and don’t ignore the lessons at hand.
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