IBM: Collaboration will expand CIOs' roles

The major challenges the federal government will confront in 2020 are the same ones facing governments worldwide, and solving them will require a new level of collaboration, according to a report published this week by the IBM Institute for Business Value.

The report identifies six global forces governments will face: changing demographics, accelerating globalization, rising environmental concerns, evolving societal relationships, growing threats to social stability and the expanding effects of technology.

The good news is that expanded use of information technology can support the continuous collaboration that will be necessary for governing in 2020, said James Cortada, public sector leader at the IBM Institute of Business Value and one of the principal authors of the report, which IBM released June 16.

“The IT executive is going to be asked increasingly to help facilitate the flow of information and communications among agencies that normally do not talk to each other or among agencies and organizations outside of government that are interacting with government,” Cortada said.

In the report, “Government 2020 and the Perpetual Collaboration Mandate,” the authors wrote that “engaging large sectors of society in an effective process of perpetual collaboration holds out the greatest hope for success” in dealing with the major challenges that government organizations will be expected to address.

“We are already seeing an increased need for governments to collaborate with a whole bunch of folks that they haven’t had to collaborate with in the past,” Cortada said.

Cortada added that chief information officers should step forward and demonstrate to Cabinet-level leaders the value of collaboration enabled by social-networking software, service-oriented architecture, identity management and other collaborative technologies and standards.

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