Executive Order Enables CIOs to Effectively Modernize
CIOs in federal agencies have struggled to obtain effective authority and accountability. A senior administration official stated on a conference call on May 15th that this lack of authority and accountability is “one of the glaring problems facing IT modernization.”
Given this history, Trump’s Executive Order on Agency CIOs comes as no surprise, especially when one looks at the administration’s policy on IT Modernization. In this article on NextGov, the Senior Vice President for Public Sector at the Information Technology Industry Council, Trey Hodgkins, is quoted as saying, “Strong leadership and executive support are needed to evolve and transform the way the government invests in IT. The executive order from the Trump administration announced today puts CIOs in a position to effectively drive this IT modernization across the federal government and fully implement the Clinger-Cohen Act and the FITARA Act.”
FITARA has been in place since 2014 but was largely ineffective as CIOs did not have the ability to effect change. FCW reports a senior administration official as saying the order is a “foundational step in a multi-year journey to revamp IT throughout the federal government by fully implementing IT reform legislation.” Senior advisor, Jared Kushner, seemed to confirm that sentiment with this statement, “The true answer to modernizing government technology is to build the capacity to conduct change on an ongoing basis. By ensuring that agency CIOs are empowered, today’s action by President Trump is a critical step forward in building that change management capacity.”
What does this mean for agency CIOs?
To understand what this means for federal CIOs, we need to more closely examine the contents of the executive order. We have identified five points of note which are summarized below. You can see the full order here.
- CIO Duties and Responsibilities: With the order in place, CIOs will now report directly to the agency head. With this change, the CIO now has direct access to senior leadership and becomes the de facto strategic advisor for all things IT, including: planning, programming, budgeting and executive decisions.
- Agency-Wide IT Consolidation: The CIO will be enabled to make strategic decisions regarding the use of technology, including shared services between federal government agencies.
- CIO to have a presence on IT Governance Boards: The CIO will now hold a seat on any appropriate board or investment that falls under the aegis of IT. This includes boards responsible for establishing agency-wide IT standards. If the board operates through member votes, the CIO will be a voting member and, when applicable, the agency head can direct the CIO to chair the board.
- Direct Hiring Authority: In cases where an agency has a deficit in qualified talent, the Director can grant the agency direct hiring authority for IT positions.
For years, CIOs in the public sector were challenged with executing their duties due to the lack of authority given to the position. Now, CIOs can truly transform and modernize IT for their specific agency.
UCaaS and the CIO Executive Order
Cloud solutions, such as Unified-Communications-as-a-Service, are just one method for agencies to modernize their IT solutions effectively. The significant cost savings from the per-user subscription model puts funds back in the CIOs hands to utilize and continue to work towards true IT modernization. Additionally, legacy solutions can be incorporated into the cloud solution. Not only will federal agencies and CIOs gain instant access to modern voice and collaboration tools, but will also aid them in recruiting the top talent they need. Learn more about how your agency can modernize with UCaaS. Contact us today.