CIO site gets overhaul

CIO Council Web site

Federal chief information officers may soon find collaborating online a little easier.

The CIO Council plans to unveil a newly revamped Web site, aimed at providing a forum for CIOs to better communicate and work together. Officials expect the site to be available by the end of this month, although more advanced capabilities for CIOs will be added a month later, according to Dave Wennergren, co-chairman of the council's Best Practices Committee and Navy CIO.

"A lot of work is done through the Web site, and it's used to exchange information," Wennergren said. With the redesign, officials are "trying to make it a little easier to navigate and stay timely. There is enough exciting stuff going on in the committees that there is the passion to get the work out there and available."

The Web site includes publicly accessible pages as well as an intranet limited to CIOs and deputy CIOs. The site serves as a collaboration spot for members of the council's three committees — Best Practices, Architecture and Infrastructure, and Workforce and Human Capital for IT — and communities of practice. The redesigned site will facilitate this knowledge sharing and dialogue among members, Wennergren said. The site also will accommodate the public by adopting a new layout, making information about the council's efforts easier to find, he said.

The new look will be launched at the end of the month, Wennergren said. At the end of October, officials plan to add a solutions exchange, a repository of best practices and tools developed by CIOs for use governmentwide, he said. Early this summer, officials embarked on a campaign to seek out those best practices and suggestions from managers on how to best share these concepts.

Wennergren and his co-chairman, Carlos Solari, CIO of the Executive Office of the President, were responsible for updating the site, which Wennergren described as "definitely in need of a tune-up." He was unsure when the site was last redesigned and said General Services Administration officials are responsible for day-to-day maintenance.

Officials had commercial sites, such as Amazon.com Inc., in mind when developing the look and features of the new site, Wennergren said. He also enlisted some of his colleagues who worked on the Navy's CIO site to lend their expertise.

The current site is updated with news and featured items, but he said the static pages often lack timeliness. Further, it's challenging for users to quickly find information on the site, he said.

"I'm an impatient person; I need a couple clicks to information and have the latest scoop," he said. "Some of the improvements will make it easier to find the information you want ... . It will have a look and feel that is a little easier to find."

Michael is a freelance writer based in Chicago.

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