>Coming Soon: A Federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO)

>What is the role of the Federal Chief Technology Officer (CTO) that we are anxiously awaiting to be announced soon in the President-elect Obama administration?

There are some interesting insights in Federal Computer Week, 8 December 2008.

CHANGE: Norman Lorenz, the first CTO for OMB, sees the role of the Federal CTO as primarily a change agent, so much so that the title should be the federal chief transformation officer.

TEAMWORK: Jim Flyzik, the Former CIO of the U.S. Department of the Treasury, and one of my former bosses, sees the CTO role as one who inspires teamwork across the federal IT community, and who can adeptly use the Federal CIO Council and other CXO councils to get things done—in managing the large, complex government IT complex.

VISION: Kim Nelson, the former CIO of the Environmental Protection Agency says it’s all about vision to ensure that agencies “have the right infrastructure, policies, and services for the 21st century and ensure they use best-in-class technologies.”

ARCHITECTURE: French Caldwell, a VP at Gartner, says the CTO must “try to put some cohesion and common [enterprise] architecture around the IT investment of federal agencies.”

SECURITY: Dan Tynan, of “Culture Clash” blog at Computerworld’s website said the federal CTO should create a more secure IT infrastructure for government.

CITIZENS: Don Tapscott, author of “Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything,” seems to focus on the citizens in terms of ensuring access to information and services, conditions for a vibrant technology industry, and generally fostering collaboration and transformation of government and democracy.

This is great stuff and I agree with these.

I would add that the following four:

INNOVATION: The Federal CTO should promote and inspire innovation for better, faster, and cheaper ways of conducting government business and serving the citizens of this country.

STRATEGY: The Federal CTO should develop a strategy with clear IT goals and objectives for the federal government IT community to unite around, manage to, and measure performance against. We need to all be working off the same sheet of music, and it should acknowledge both commonalities across government as well as unique mission needs.

STRUCTURE: The Federal CTO should provide efficient policies and processes that will enable structured and sound ways for agencies to make IT investments, prioritize projects, and promote enterprise and common solutions.

OUTREACH; The Federal CTO is the face of Federal IT to not only citizens, but also state, local, and tribal governments, international forums, and to the business community at large. He/she should identify stakeholder requirements for federal IT and align them to the best technical solutions that are not bound by geographical, political, social, economic, or other boundaries.

The Federal CTO is a position of immense opportunity with the enormous potential to drive superior mission performance using management and IT best practices and advanced and emerging technologies, breaking down agency and functional silos in order to build a truly citizen-centric, technology-enabled government in the service to citizen and country.

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