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!