Govt CIOs Sans Digital Strategy Are At Risk

by CXOtoday News Desk    May 09, 2014

digital innovation

While a quarter of government agencies around the world remain under pressure to cut IT budgets, government CIOs can see a lot of potential in high-value areas — such as mobile services, business analytics and public cloud solutions, says a recent Gartner study, suggesting that governments are at risk of entering a long-term state of technological deficiency if they fail to develop and reward digitally savvy executives and IT professionals.

Towards a digital economy

Nevertheless, the IT landscape remains challenging for the CIOs in government agencies, as Rick Howard, research director at Gartner notes that 26% anticipate a budget decrease in 2014 – the number is high when compared to other sector CIOs, where the global average is 17%.

There’s also pressure on CIOs in government to demonstrate the worth of IT, according to Gartner that indicates a need for government CIOs to “quickly and clearly differentiate their portfolios of high-value IT solutions and products” from the commoditized IT services traditionally associated with in-house IT organizations.

 “To maintain organizational relevance in today’s digital industrial economy, CIOs need to work in collaboration with their executive peers to strike the optimal balance of ‘grow’ and ‘transform’ with running the business,” Howard notes, adding the IT and digital agenda for each country, industry and enterprise is becoming more specialized.

Role of CDOs, C-suite

Going forward, there will be a greater demand of niche skills or understanding the worth of chief digital officers (CDOs). Howard says, however, that in municipalities where the digital acumen of elected officials is high and economic development is a top priority, there is a willingness to hire the digitally proficient talent needed to support initiatives.

“Government agencies should sustain this initial burst of innovation, while ensuring accountability for the management of government’s information assets, by establishing clear boundaries among the roles of CIO, CDO and CTO, even when these duties are the responsibility of one person.”

Howard stresses that while digital is expected to undergo rapid transformation, 75% of government CIOs also indicate that they will change their technology and sourcing approach within the next three years.

“With three quarters of government CIOs reporting that they will change their technology and sourcing approach within the next three years, the need for the role of IT broker will significantly increase,” Howard says adding that this will prompt government CIOs to restructure their IT portfolios to provide higher-value-added business services and technology capabilities, such as advanced analytics and business process management (BPM).

“The most successful government CIOs will relish the opportunity to manage IT effectively in an increasingly diverse ecosystem of vendors and solutions by combining specialized knowledge of government business practices and policies with the executive role, in order to promote architecture standardization, interoperability, robustness, agility and security,” Howard concludes.