February 14, 2011

The Evolving CIO: The Challenges of the 2nd Decade

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In the course of the two decades that the federal Chief Information Officer (CIO) position has existed, the landscape for information management strategy and implementation has changed dramatically: globalization, the rise and dominance of Internet, the ever-accelerating trend to put more and more processing power into smaller and smaller devices, have led to countless innovations and industries that have impacted our lives in ways very few predicted.  I am a big history buff and personally strive to understand the past in order to shape how I live my life, mentor my children, and perform my job as CIO at the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in the present and future.

When it comes to my role as CIO, I feel it’s important to recognize that while technology is often credited with leading change, the demand for accessing and sharing information is a predominant driver.  The Internet did not even exist when intensive data processing and data sharing demands spurred the creation of the position of CIO.  Monolithic, proprietary systems housed the vast majority of information which was shared via limited reporting capabilities with select individuals on a need-to-know basis.  The Internet increased the demand for open sources of information in turn strengthening the demand for accountable, transparent, and performance-based decision-making.

This blog entry is the first of a new series that I will be crafting this year to channel my passion for exploring who a CIO really is and what a CIO should really do through a contemporary lens.  Thinking about the past is vital to formulate the core purpose of my role which I use to guide how I educate myself, determine strategic priorities, and go about my day.  I will further reflect on the past in my next blog in this series and move into the future from there.  My goal is to start a dialogue that helps us all think about some critical considerations as we guide our organizations through the 2nd decade.

How have the requirements for CIOs evolved?  What is the right vision for the future? How should this vision transfer to the daily cadence of activities a CIO performs?  What is the CIO’s responsibility to the country and the world?  How should we measure the value and performance of the CIO?  What do young, incoming government employees expect from our agencies and what potential do they bring us for innovation and new approaches? Throughout this series I will offer personal observations and experiences as well as encourage others to explore these ideas with me.

Reflecting the new direction of information and in the spirit of Open Government, HUD’s newly revamped blog: The HUDdle provides the ideal outlet for this dialogue and is a great example of HUD’s leadership in opening up government.  “Sharing” users will be able to tweet individual blog posts, add blog posts to their Facebook pages, e-mail blog posts to friends, and bookmark blog posts on social bookmarking sites.  The new blog will also allow comments which will enable HUD to have a two-way conversation with the public.  The new blog sits on WordPress, an open source platform, and will serve as an open source pilot test for HUD.

I look forward to venturing on this journey of forward thinking and discovery with you!

13 Responses to The Evolving CIO: The Challenges of the 2nd Decade

  1. We applaud HUD’s Information and Technology vision, and the understanding that the roles of CIO’s have changed, and will continue to change in this new decade. The future must include dialogue between business needs, technology, and the private sector. The goals should mirror those of the administration which support small business, private and other entrepreneurial elements sitting at the table and having a voice along with HUD and its housing partners. This BLOG is a start, and we will strongly participate in this and other similar forums where HUD, the Private, and the Public sectors can come together.

  2. It is really amazing in our modern world how the internet has changed every facet of our lives but especially how we receive and process information. I think the role of the CIO is more important than ever – definitely time for an updated definition!

  3. There are some attention-grabbing closing dates in this article however I don’t know if I see all of them heart to heart. Theres some validity however I will take maintain opinion till I look into it further. Good article , thanks and we want more!

  4. Excellent reflection. I’ve a niche but concrete step-forward suggestion; a tool to enable your vision.

    Increase HUD’s telework capabilities through broad deployment of the Air Force Research Lab’s nearly-free, DoD-accredited, and extremely secure LPS-Remote Access. With just a CD and a smartcard reader, you can temporarily turn almost any computer into a true Govt PC for telework, and then back again into a personal/corporate/public computer. With this novel tool, HUD may easily, cheaply, and securely reap the benefits of telework w/o having to buy $2k laptops that cost $6k/year to maintain. I suggest one of your forward looking, security-aware technologists check out at LPS-Remote Access,

  5. Internet is now become part and parcel of our every day life. it makes changes in all things i our life. As because of this reason we are becoming more updated.

  6. Thank you for sharing your such a good post.
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  7. information strategy has indeed changed dramatically. globalization, the rise and dominance of the Internet, a trend that always speed up to put more and more processing power into smaller devices and smaller, has led to countless innovations and industries that have influenced our lives in ways that very few predicted.

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