In the beginning, Obama named a CIO, CTO, and CPO
When American voters created hope with the casting of their ballots, a new brand of President emerged, one that was fussy about substituting his Blackberry for lesser technology in the name of security. He showed signs that he might be more technology savvy than his predecessors.
By naming a Chief Information Officer (CIO), a Chief Technology Officer (CTO), and a Chief Performance Officer (CPO) there was hope for improving government enterprise performance as the nation was now equipped with leadership.
The bureaucracy swallowed the skill, knowledge, and experience, put the “experts” in a can, and the President forgot all about fixing systemic flaws as he became one of the cogs himself.
I wrote in my book Smart Data, Enterprise Performance Optimization Strategy ©2010 Wiley what I had hoped would come from these people and positions. The opportunity was there and remains unattended.
I invite readers of my book to help expound.
“Federal CIO Kundra's leadership worth only a B grade?
Survey gives him high marks for vision, less so for dedication
By David Hubler
Sep 26, 2011
Vivek Kundra may be gone from the federal contracting scene, but his legacy lives on — albeit amid some controversy.
A recent MeriTalk survey of federal IT professionals lauded the former federal CIO for making a significant impact during his tenure at the Office of Management and Budget and for his vision in advancing the government IT community.
The federal IT sector is better as a result, said 71 percent of the respondents.
Seventy-one percent of respondents credited Kundra with making a significant impact and 75 percent said his vision was his greatest strength.
Only 18 percent cited his dedication.
Overall they gave him a grade of B for his leadership and raised questions about OMB’s implementation timing, funding, and conflicting mandates for improving federal IT.
Among Kundra's top challenges, 59 percent said he did not get sufficient funding to fulfill mandates. Forty-four percent of respondents said he faced conflicting mandates and 41 percent said he faced unrealistic goals or mandates.
Only 29 percent said they were following Kundra’s Cloud First policy, a keystone of his federal IT innovation program.
Asked what Steven VanRoekel, the new federal CIO, should focus on, 60 percent said reducing the number of mandates, 53 percent urged a reassessment of goals and timelines to make success more attainable, and 46 percent called on VanRoekel to listen to feedback and counsel from IT operators.
The in-person survey, titled “Over to You, Mr. VanRoekel…A Federal IT Referendum on Change Study,” involved 174 federal IT and systems integrators. It was conducted at the MeriTalk Innovation Nation conference in August.”
From Smart Data
“On this day the Washington Post headline is, “Obama Picks Technology and Performance Officers.”
Aneesh Chopra is the nation’s first Chief Technology Officer (CTO). Jeffrey Zients is the Chief Performance Officer (CPO). The Chief Information Officer is Vivek Kundra. Significant is that there are three positions, Technology, Performance, and Information and that they are expected to collaborate, in our words to help optimize enterprise performance. They do this not as operations executives managing complex bureaucracies, but by providing leadership and expert direction and input to the President and to the cabinet secretaries.
Can we assume that the CPO will be a performance analyst, examining government operations to seek out improvement opportunities; the CTO will be evaluating and improving the technology underpinning that spans the spectrum of research beginning in a discovery mode to identify strategic technologies that will not only optimize government enterprise, but will energize the economy; and the CIO will focus on hardware and software systems that enable all aspects of government to optimize performance, by leveraging the best information technologies? Those are our assumptions.
According to the Department of Labor Occupational Outlook Handbook 2008-2009, “Chief technology officers (CTOs), for example, evaluate the newest and most innovative technologies and determine how these can help their organizations. The chief technology officer often reports to the organization’s chief information officer, manages and plans technical standards, and tends to the daily information technology issues of the firm. (Chief information officers are covered in a separate Handbook statement on top executives.) Because of the rapid pace of technological change, chief technology officers must constantly be on the lookout for developments that could benefit their organizations. Once a useful tool has been identified, the CTO must determine an implementation strategy and sell that strategy to management.”
The last sentence is a problem because it implies all technology is a tool, and that is too narrow a definition and context. Technology is broadly the application of science. The National Institute of Health (NIH) defines it as “a body of knowledge used to create tools, develop skills, and extract or collect materials; the application of science (the combination of the scientific method and material) to meet an objective or solve a problem.”14[i]
The Department of Labor defines Chief information Officers duties as follows. “CIOs are responsible for the overall technological direction of their organizations. They are increasingly involved in the strategic business plan of a firm as part of the executive team. To perform effectively, they also need knowledge of administrative procedures, such as budgeting, hiring, and supervision. These managers propose budgets for projects and programs and make decisions on staff training and equipment purchases. They hire and assign computer specialists, information technology workers, and support personnel to carry out specific parts of the projects. They supervise the work of these employees, review their output, and establish administrative procedures and policies. Chief information officers also provide organizations with the vision to master information technology as a competitive tool.””
14 National Institute of Health, Glossary http://science.education.nih.gov/supplements/nih4/technology/other/glossary.htm