CIOs need status, support
- By Diane Frank
- Mar 26, 2000
If federal chief information officers are to be successful, they must have
status and support among the agency administration, government and industry
officials testified before Congress last week.
In the four years since the 1996 Clinger-Cohen Act created the federal CIO,
some agencies have done better than others in shaping the CIO position and
its place within the agency, said David McClure, associate director of governmentwide
and defense information systems at the General Accounting Office's Accounting
and Information Management Division. Although many CIOs have established
a higher level of credibility within their agency, they often are not at
the top level of the agency's management structure and do not have the full
support of the rest of the agency leadership, McClure said in testimony
Friday before the House Government Reform Subcommittee on Government Management,
Information and Technology.
"The success of the CIO heavily depends of the senior management understanding
the role of the CIO within the organization," he said. "Agency leaders must
help facilitate success in the IT arena. CIOs are critical, but they cannot
do it alone."
At the state level, many CIOs have such high status: Twenty-seven report
directly to the governor. "IT is how business is delivered in government;
therefore, the CIO must be a party to the highest level of business decisions,"
said Otto Doll, president of the National Association of State Information
The CIO's participation in budget consideration also is key, according to
testimony last week by federal, state and industry representatives.
"If CIOs are to be held responsible and accountable for results, they will
need the authority to influence resource decisions," said Jim Flyzik, CIO
at the Treasury Department and vice chairman of the CIO Council.
At the hearing, GAO released a new executive guide on maximizing the success
of CIOs within the federal government. The guide (GAO/AIMD-00-83) soon will
be available on the GAO World Wide Web site at www.gao.gov.