Security, consolidation top CIOs’ agendas

ITAA's 17th annual survey of CIOs

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Despite progress on information technology security, agency chief information officers’ top priorities and concerns are still meeting statutory and regulatory requirements, ensuring data is secure while also available to meet mission needs, and facilitating overall network defense.

A survey of 47 CIOs at 33 organizations in the executive, legislative and judiciary branches issued today by the IT Association of America found cybersecurity policies, management and training have improved in the past year, but the execution of cybersecurity remains a major challenge.

“IT security has been both their greatest achievement and their biggest challenge,” said Paul Wohlleben, chairman of the CIO survey project and a partner at Grant Thornton. “A lot of CIOs said they feel like they are on an island when it comes to security. They are responsible to make data available but also keep it secure. They need to try to get others in the agency involved.”

In its 17th annual CIO survey, ITAA found that many CIOs focus on accomplishing what they have started and not on new projects.

“CIOs seemed to say they have their heads down on what is in front of them,” Wohlleben said during a briefing with reporters. “They are focused on consolidation and implementing their projects in the parameters they laid out in their business case.”

Besides IT security and information sharing, CIOs continue to work on the consolidation of back-office and mission-critical systems, enterprise IT management, and the Office of Management and Budget’s line of business initiatives. Those are among the CIOs’ top challenges, the survey found.

Wohlleben said agencies’ use of enterprise architectures is having an effect on their ability to manage IT. But enterprise architecture “often conflicts with agency agendas,” CIOs said in the survey.

“The more mature agencies have integrated their [enterprise architectures] into their management programs,” Wohlleben said. “They are educating other CXOs on how to use the architecture. But some are still addressing the basics” of enterprise architecture.

Most CIOs said OMB’s line of business effort is a core element of their consolidation strategy, but it is problematic in its implementation.

Wohlleben said CIOs want more attention from OMB on change management and transition issues.

“CIOs said the integration of outside systems with internal systems is the most difficult thing about” lines of business, he said. “There is pressure to sign up with a shared service provider, which will undo their internal integration efforts, and that must be dealt with.”

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